K. Leon Norton | PostIndependent.com

K. Leon Norton

Leon Norton died Friday, Aug. 5, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, with his family by his side. He was 65 years old.

Leon was born Aug. 19, 1939, in Enid, Okla., to Kenneth D. and Bertha Norton. The family moved to California, where Leon graduated from Elk Grove High School in Sacramento, Calif., in 1957.

In August 1960, Leon and his wife, Sue, moved to Aspen with his in-laws, Sam and Pearl Gibson. Sam and Leon started Gibson and Norton Painting, which became one of the largest painting contractors in the area. They painted most of the original buildings in the new Snowmass Village area.

In the mid-70s Leon went into general construction after his father-in-law retired. He had Pyramid Builders Inc. and was the largest single general contractor in the area until the mid-’80s. Some of the buildings included the Ajax Mountain Building, Tom Thumb Building, KSNO building, Hunter Square and many other commercial buildings and single-family homes.

Over the past 22 years, Leon spent most of his time raising his two children from his second marriage, Ben and Chelsea. He found true happiness was not in the things he had but in the people who surrounded him. Leon shared a changed life with many, and impacted the Roaring Fork Valley with a wealth of love and understanding.

Leon loved hunting, fishing, reading and being surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his children: Melody (Terry) Kappeli, of Basalt; Heidi (Nick) Rung, and Chelsea Norton, of Minneapolis; Kenneth Benjamin Norton, of Durango; grandchildren Nicholaus (Lisa), Stephan, April and Sam Rung, Heather and Kyle Kappeli; great-grandson Isaac, of Paonia and another great-grandchild due in October; brother David and family; sisters Sharon, of Redding, Calif., Judy Mendenhall, of Crownsville, Md., Diana, of San Jose, Calif., Donna Mason and family, of Overgaard, Ariz., and Wynona and family. He will be sorely missed by his family and the many friends of this area he loved so much.

A celebration of his life will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Christ Community Church in Basalt. Everyone is welcome.

In lieu of flowers, donations for final arrangements would be appreciated.

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