Date of Death: January 28, 2024

Service Details

A Celebration of Life will be held for Justin on Saturday, March 2, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Sidetrack, 3349 North Halsted Street, Chicago, 60057.

A second Celebration of Life will be held in Justin’s hometown on Saturday, July 20, from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold Street, Three Rivers, Michigan.

Obituary Notice


Justin was born to Pratoom (Toy) Sommai Norton and Richard (Ric) Norton nearly a half century ago in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. From the time he took his first breath “the die was set.” He was destined to be the beautiful person that many people came to know and love.

His first few months were spent in a small bungalow on stilts nurtured by his mother, coddled by his Great Grandmother, and protected by his Father and Uncle Lek. Many hours were spent playing with his older brothers, Jason and Jeff.

Justin took his first airplane ride at the age of 6 months, flying to the United States from South East Asia. He landed in the city of Chicago in the midst of a snowstorm, stranded for several days. Ironically, this would be his home after spending his childhood in rural Southwest Michigan.

He grew up in an old farmhouse that sat on a knoll, surrounded by fields and woodlands west of the village of Three Rivers. He was fortunate to be surrounded by a large extended family, including his Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, and many cousins.

His years spent at Norton Elementary and later in Three Rivers Middle School and High School helped to inspire his desire to learn, chase after his dreams, and achieve his goals. Middle and High School Band had a profound influence on his entire life. Thank you, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Shetterly, for planting the seed. As First Chair bassoonist with both Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, he was able to travel and perform at various venues throughout the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. It was also through a shared passion for music back in Middle School that he met his lifelong friend Kimberley.

After a year attending The School of Music at Western Michigan University, Justin’s life changed course and he headed to Chicago. The arts, theater, concerts, museums, and night life were his leisure pursuits. His work was a passion! He knew his business in cosmetics and had the talent of bringing the inner beauty of his clients to the surface of their skin. As a team leader, sales associate, and manager at Nordstrom he was respected and loved by his colleagues, who knew him well.

In 2012, Justin married his soulmate, Ritchie, and together they built a life filled with love and laughter. Ritchie was Justin’s rock and their personalities perfectly complimented each other. They shared a passion for travel that included a trip to his cousin Nattiya’s wedding in Phuket, Thailand, a journey to Ireland, and numerous adventures in New Orleans.

Justin’s final challenge in life was the unrelenting cancer that consumed his body. With the love and support of his husband, Ritchie, he fought relentlessly. Their undeniable love for each other got them through many difficult days. When he took his last breath, he knew he had won, he was at peace.

To paraphrase the original quote from Augustus “…to have a rainbow, you must have rain.”

With Justin there were many rainbows, and the rain was but a mist…

Additional Information

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory, that will give other young people the opportunity he was given early in his life.
“The TR Band Boosters”
Camp Scholarships
PO Box 401
Three Rivers, MI 49093

Please Leave Your Condolences

When your condolences are submitted they will not display until approved by the Hohner staff for appropriateness out of respect for their memory. They should appear within 24 hours or less. Thank you for your understanding.

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  1. I was so sad to hear of the passing of Justin. I guess I am still trying to process it. Justin was such a good friend when we were kids. My best friend for many years. We grew apart because we had different interests, but the memories and the good times are still there. There was nothing more exciting as kid then to meet half between our houses to have a play day with my best friend Justin. We played and talked and just had fun. Great memories that I hold dear. Toy and Ric, I am so sorry that Justin passed away. He is truly missed.

    • Toy and I both smiled when we seen your tribute to Justin. Ironically we have a picture of you both from those days which will be included in his celebration of life on July 20th. Stop by if you can on that day at Hohner’s , we’d love to see you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! -Ric

  2. Dear Toy and Ric.
    I didn’t know your son. The obituary is so beautifully written. A lovely young man. My sympathy to you and family.

  3. Dearest Nephew: You are missed. My condolences, love and prayers to your husband, and parents, and your “big” brothers. My last message from Justin was, “We shall fight cancer together!” I won–I just wish he would have won, also.

    • Max,
      Thank you for thoughts and prayers from all of us. Justin always smiled and acknowleged his love when Aunt Maxine was mentioned in conversation.
      I speak for him when I remind you that he did in fact win!
      He did not waste a day of his life on this earth. He lived and experienced more in his nearly 49 years than most do in a “normal” life span. He proved his “grit” and determination by enduring excruiating pain from the cancer and side affects of treatment so that he might have a few more days with those that he loved the most.
      Unable to speak in his final hours, he left us with a smile in his eyes.
      He won!
      Love from your little brother and his family to yours!

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