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Ronnie Norton's Irish Wake   (March 4, 2006)


From Ronnie's family:

Ronnie Norton, dearly beloved son of Pamela and brother to Sharon, Tanya and Ashley died Thursday 23rd Feb after a very short and sudden illness in Hong Kong. He will be greatly missed by his family, his dog Snapper, numerous friends, colleagues and shareholders of Bacardi Ltd. May he rest in peace with a Bacardi and Coke in hand.

All friends are invited to attend a wake at Spicy Island, Lamma Island on Saturday 4th March from 4pm to celebrate his life. Only happy faces please.


Eulogy for Ronnie Norton -
Presented on Saturday 4th March at Spicy Island Wake –
by Phil Leverick, husband of Ronnie’s twin sister Shari (Sharon):

Frank Murdoch composed this song to "The Wild Colonial Boy" (Aussie/ Irish folk song), sung at the wake:

Thank you for coming here today  to celebrate the life of Ronnie Norton.  He was our very good friend and a much loved member of our family.

Ronnie has tragically been taken away from us at a very early age, when we all would have hoped to share his continuity, friendship and warm sincerity for many years to come.  He was a man of great integrity and will be sadly missed by all of us here today and by the many others of his family and friends who have not been able to be here at this time.  Ronnie’s mother Pamela and his younger sister Tanya and brother Ashley would very much have liked to be here if they could.

Despite the sad loss we all feel though, we should also be thankful that the terrible illness which has taken his life so prematurely was relatively short-lived and he did not have to endure a much longer period of pain and suffering.

We must also offer our sincere thanks to the doctors and staff of Queen Mary Hospital here in Hong Kong, who were outstanding in their treatment and care of Ronnie during what were to be the final weeks of his life, until he passed away in his sleep and free of pain 9 days ago (23rd February).

I know too that many of Ronnie’s dear friends here today have all made a tremendous contribution to supporting and helping both Ronnie and Shari his sister in many ways over this very difficult and distressing time.  Without wishing to understate in any way what each of you have done, Shari and I would especially like to thank Tom Jamieson who has been an absolute tower of strength and has shouldered much of the burden with great courage and fortitude; and Frank, Flora (Murdoch) and Dave Wheelband for all the support they have provided without hesitation.

Today is not an occasion for sadness though, we have all known Ronnie for many years and we are here to celebrate both his life and the great times and many happy memories we all have from sharing his friendship over a long time.  He was highly respected by all who knew him.

Both Ronnie and his sister Shari shared a tragic start to their life 54 years ago when their father was killed in a boating accident before they were born.  They spent much of their early years in boarding school in Ireland, not always a pleasant experience, before travelling with their mother Pamela to Canada and then with Pamela and their new stepfather Dick to live in England, Spain and then Germany.  Ronnie’s stepfather was a very good jazz pianist and a keen photographer and Ronnie inherited his love of both jazz and photography from that time. In his late teens, Ronnie worked as a photographer for the British army in Germany.

During his later working life, Ronnie worked successfully for Bechtel for many years in human resources management before eventually branching out in his own recruitment business Norton & Associates. Over many years he has placed many talented and capable people on major project contracts in various parts of the world.

I know from feedback from many, that all those he has placed have without exception continued to hold Ronnie is the highest regard.

In recent years Ronnie has, as you know, worked very closely with Tom Jamieson and Brian Macnay who have not only been close business associates but also the very truest of friends.

Last but not least, I’d like to mention Snapper, Ronnie’s faithful dog an companion over the last eight years whom all of you will know.  If Snapper could speak I’m sure he would say how much he shares our loss now that Ronnie is no longer with us.

And now I’d ask you all to stand and share a minute of silence, to pay our respects to Ronnie and remember the happy times we all shared with him.  He will always remain in our thoughts and hearts.

Thank you.

The Wild Colonial Boy

There was a Wild Colonial Boy
Ronnie Norton was his name
Of good and honest parents
Who hoped that he’d have fame
He was his father’s future hope
His mother’s pride and joy
And dearly did his parents love
The Wild Colonial Boy

When just into his teenage years
He started out to roam
From the Continent to Africa
His suitcase was his home
He travelled to the Persian Gulf
And good men did employ
To fight the fires of tyranny
The Wild Colonial Boy

He settled down on Lamma Isle
In Colonial Hong Kong
He hadn’t fame or fortune
But he always got along
Then fate dealt him the ace of spades
It was an awful ploy
To bring about a sudden end
To the Wild Colonial Boy

So join him now in memory
As he roams the mountains high
Remember Ronnie’s better times
And he will never die
He’ll still be helping out his mates
Whenever they’re in strife
And having no regrets about
The way he lived his life
The Wild Colonial Boy


Photos by Bob Davis:

(click to enlarge)


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