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Michigan, Florida Hall of Famer Gordon Norris dies

September 09, 2020

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Gordon E. Norris, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Michigan and Florida, died Tuesday, Sept. 8. He was 87.


Mr. Norris was born on June 18, 1933 in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the son of Charles and Thelma (nee Nelson) Norris. He proudly served his country in the United States Army from 1953-1955.


Mr. Norris was united in marriage to Diane L. Norris for 52 years until her death on April 25, 2019.


Mr. Norris owned, trained and drove Standardbreds his entire life. He owned a farm in Fowlerville, Mich., but raced many horses over the years at tracks across North America, including in top-class events at all the Michigan racetracks and Pompano Park in Florida into the mid-1990s. He won 990 races as a driver and thousands as a trainer. He won numerous leading trainer awards through the years, and he was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Florida in 1994 and in Michigan in 2000.


Mr. Norris was a member of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association, Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, and the U.S. Trotting Association


He retired from harness racing at the age of 79. With a strong faith, Mr. Norris loved to read the Bible and attend church services of all denominations. His whole life revolved around horses and the Bible.  A sports fan, he liked watching football and baseball. His greatest joy was his family, he enjoyed spending time with them on the farm barbecuing.


Mr. Norris is survived by his loving children, Robin (Terry) Merriman, Denise (Pete) Benson, Thelma (Norm) Kubitskey, Kim Gorshe, Mike (Kimberly) Gorshe, and Sara Cool; his grandchildren, Jamie, Jason, Daniel, Diana, Jordan, Brendon, Kristy, Travis, and Dylan; and five great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, his daughter Kathy Mapes, his parents, his brothers Charles Jr. and Lawrence and his sisters Lillian and Lottie.


Visitation will be held Monday, Sept. 14, from 4-6 p.m. with a memorial service at 6 p.m. at Casterline Funeral Home, 122 West Dunlap, Northville, Mich. Mr. Norris will be laid to rest at Greenwood Cemetery in Fowlerville, Michigan.


The family would appreciate memorial contributions to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kan. 66675 or Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 42 Arneytown-Hornerstown Road, Cream Ridge, N.J. 08514.

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