Veteran IMB missionary to Japan dies at 61 comment (0)
December 20, 2012
International Mission Board (IMB) missionary Nancy Turner Norton, 61, died Dec. 5 in Birmingham after a courageous yearlong battle with cancer. Born in Miami, Fla., Norton is survived by her husband, John, and two sons, Kevin and Scott.
The couple were appointed as missionaries to Japan in August 1977 and served with IMB for more than 35 years. Norton served in various roles during her missionary career. She loved to mentor other women, prayerwalk, sing and teach children, according to a missionary colleague.
Her ministries included teaching college in Kitakyushu City and serving as missionary associate executive director for the Japan Woman’s Missionary Union from 1996 to 1999. She also directed handbell choirs in Kitakyushu and Kansai from 1983 to 2002 and led the team for the Kansai Deaf of Japan from 1999 to 2003. In 2004, she became the strategy coordinator for Kitakyushu/Fukuoka, while her husband continued in his role as language adviser.
Norton was diagnosed with cancer shortly before Christmas 2011 and initially received treatment in Japan before returning to Birmingham for additional care.
“With tears in our eyes, we rejoice that she is pain free, home free and set free — yet all the while not wanting to release her this quickly,” said IMB representative Carlton Walker, who serves in Japan. “She was a force, His force, among us.
“The strongest thing that remains in my mind concerning Nancy were her own words,” continued Walker. “‘In life or death, I want to glorify the Lord in all of this.’”