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 James Berkeley Norris

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James Berkeley Norris

  • Birth 5 Jan 1924 San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
  • Death 25 Dec 2000 Pinole, Contra Costa County, California, USA
  • Burial San Pablo, Contra Costa County, California, USA
  • Memorial ID 14963170

James Berkeley Norris was born on January 5th, 1924 at Saint Mary's hospital in San Francisco. His father, Thomas Edward Norris, had immigrated to the US from Liverpool, England in 1920 and his mother, Kathleen Beatrice Berkeley, had come in the same year from London. His parents met on a hiking trip at Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California and were married in 1923. James had two younger brothers: Francisco (Frank) Birkett Norris, born in 1925, and David Oldham Norris (Donnie), born in 1928.

James lived in San Francisco before moving to Marin County in 1931. His boyhood was spent in the peaceful hamlet of Forest Knolls, a place he described as beautiful, safe, and quiet. His new surroundings were about as far-removed from the big city as one could get. It was here that James became involved in Boy Scouts and other great-American past-times like swimming in watering holes and stealing rides on the backs of trucks. James was a very good student and loved to read. He particularly enjoyed classic tales of adventure, so much so that his mother nicknamed him after the Rudyard Kipling character, "Kim," a name that endured throughout James' life. He loved to hike and explore and set about to earn as many scouting badges as he could. His diary shows many such efforts and also illustrates the strong work ethic that he maintained throughout his life: "Earned 50 cents at Mrs. Glover's. Slept overnight at cabin site. I have 46 nights out toward camping merit badge." -April 16, 1938

James joined the Merchant Marines in 1941, became an officer, and saw the world at a young age. In his 20 years at sea, he experienced the best and the worst of life on a ship. While still at sea, James enrolled in courses through University of California, Berkeley. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in Spanish, and later a lifetime teaching credential before embarking on a new career in education.

James was known for many things, but perhaps most of all, for his love of keeping accurate records. He used to tell his children, "I can never stress enough the importance of keeping ACCURATE RECORDS." He kept records of everything. As a Boy Scout, he kept the minutes of Troop 14 and continued to keep accurate records until his last day on Earth. His logbooks from his days at sea and his personal journals are a testament to his dedication to preserving details.

James loved his family, vegetable gardening, lap swimming, traveling, genealogy, and animals. He used to include the names of all of his and others' departed pets in a long list of prayer intentions that he said nightly, and, true to form, he had to say them in order. If he was interrupted, he would begin the list again until all were included. Nothing would please James more than to know that now we will add his name to our own lists and keep him lovingly in our prayers.


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  • Created by: Rosemary
  • Added: 17 Jul 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14963170
  • Rosemary
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Berkeley Norris (5 Jan 1924–25 Dec 2000), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14963170, citing Saint Josephs Cemetery, San Pablo, Contra Costa County, California, USA ; Maintained by Rosemary (contributor 46541750) .