James M. Norton

HOF Class of 2016

Jim lived on a farm north of LeRoy until he graduated LeRoy High School in 1963. He was ranked third in his class. Jim lettered in basketball, cross country, and track establishing a high jump record of 6’4” lasting 36 years. He entered the University of Illinois in 1963 on an athletic track scholarship and placed second in the Big Ten indoor track meet his first year on the team, and lettered each year thereafter.


Jim graduated with honors from the U of I in 1967 with a BS in mathematics and minor in accounting. In 1970, he graduated from the UI Law School with a Juris Doctorate of Law degree, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1971.


Jim was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps in the US Army Reserve in 1967 through the UI ROTC program. He entered active duty in the US Army in April, 1971. In 1973, he branched transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and practiced military law for the next 28 years in the fields of criminal, legal assistance, civilian personal, labor and administrative law. He served as a Military Judge trying criminal cases in South Korea, Japan, Panama Canal Zone, Ft. Leonard Wood, Ft. Sill, and Ft. Polk. He was promoted to the grade full Colonel in July, 1991 and retired with 30 years of service on April 30, 2001. 


In 1967, Jim married Anita Badger, LHS Class of 1966.  They have three daughters (Jamie and identical twins Jennifer and Jessica), and a son (James Jason).