Asbury United Methodist Church, Cinnaminson, NJ
Sunday, March 26, 2023

Asbury Veteran: Norm Roton

Navy veteran...

     Proud parents, Norman (Jake) and Marie Roton of the Frankford section of Philadelphia welcomed their first child, Norman, on 11/11/29 (in case you hadn’t noted Veteran’s Day – then called Armistice Day). Norman’s brother Kenneth and sister Nancy soon followed.

      Over his lifetime Norm was employed by American Stores (Acme), Philadelphia Coke, Sinclair Oil Corp. and GATX Corp. From 1950 to 1995 he was employed on the Delaware River waterfront.
     In 1948 Norm joined the US Naval Reserve and was called to active duty in 1952. Told to report to the USS Benham DD796, a destroyer docked at Newport, RI, he was assigned to the forward fire room as a boiler tender. Three weeks after arriving on board ship they left for a six month good will tour. He visited Iceland, Ireland, England, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Italy, Spain, France, Libya and Gibraltar. While in Libya a cute red headed student nurse mailed a letter to him after being teased by his best buddy’s girlfriend to write the letter. In Gibraltar, due to engine trouble the ship returned to the Brooklyn Naval Yard for repair.
     His ship then patrolled the North Atlantic for 3 months on ASW duty tracking Russian submarines. Next, he went to the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Haiti and other small countries. During this time, “the redhead said she would like to meet me------the rest is history!”
     After Norm’s ship was sent to the Philadelphia Naval Yard for overhaul and upgrade he was asked to sign up for 4 more years for an around the world cruise including six months in Korea, but he declined. He spent his last 30 days of Naval duty as a prison guard at the Naval Base and was discharged in March, 1954.
     Meanwhile he was “keeping company with the redhead whose name was Natalie----in case you wondered.” In 1955 Natalie and Norm were married and “became a team”. In 1956 they were blessed with “a very special person in our lives, Debra, who later blessed us with 3 grandchildren, Lorie, James and Dave”.
     In 1987 the family moved from Philadelphia to Cinnaminson and in January, 1988, as Norm says “we became members of the Asbury Family and lived happily ever after!”