Cover photo for Raymond John Norris's Obituary

Raymond John Norris

July 22, 1955 — April 12, 2024

OVERLAND PARK

Raymond John Norris

It is with great sadness we share that Ray Norris, 68, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away Friday, April 12, 2024 from complications of a heart attack he suffered in early March.

Born alongside his twin brother Bob in North Tonawanda, New York, the twins were followed by three more brothers - Mark, Richey, and Sean, and a sister, Patricia. It was here he developed his unique personality and a sense of humor and whimsy that characterized him throughout his life. Ray loved to enjoy laughs with others, often at his own expense. If you knew Ray, it was certain that you laughed along with him.

Ray was a man of many talents and interests. He was a “gadget guy,” and fondly recalled his favorite Christmas gift as a child - a transistor radio - which launched his interest in all things electronic. He became the ultimate handy-man and fixer-upper and took great pleasure in leaving every place he lived in better condition than it was in when he arrived..

He served honorably in the United States Air Force, where his specialty training was in microwave communications. After discharge, he worked for a cable TV company, where he designed and wired cable systems, and on more than one occasion, climbed 1000 foot towers to do maintenance. He became an expert in personal computers in the 1980s, well before most even knew such a thing existed, and after his formal education, originated an associates degree program at a community college in North Carolina. He then went on to pursue business opportunities as the “PC guy,” ultimately having a very successful career as head of Information Systems for multiple companies.

Ray was an ardent fisherman. His favorite place to fish was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but he happily fished many other salt and fresh waters, some of which included Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Chesapeake, and many lakes and streams local to wherever he lived. In later years, he came to enjoy fly fishing, even crafting his own flies. He spun and listened to many fishing tales amongst his fishing friends, and always proclaimed “show me the pictures, or it didn’t really happen!” (For a few pictures, check out rayjnorris.com)

Ray was a great gardener and cook, and particularly loved to cook on his outdoor grill. Many original masterpieces were served up by Ray, always delicious. Without a doubt, Ray was the Buffalo Wing king cook. Being from Buffalo, he had it down to perfection, and they were a staple of umpteen football games. Just for the record, Ray was known to wear Bills gear to Chiefs games, illustrating his devotion to both teams.

Ray loved music and had a wide range of musical tastes. He played the 12 string guitar beautifully, and spent countless hours enjoying listening to many musical artists.

Ray frequently volunteered his time and talents. He helped many friends and organizations with web development. He volunteered with a number of programs that provided food and health care to the homeless. He was known for his many kindnesses to friends and neighbors. True to form, his final gifts were those of organ donation.

In the mid 1980s, Ray met and married Karen. Though they later divorced, Ray and Karen continued to partner well together to raise their shared son, Jonathan, born in 1995, who was the greatest source of pride and joy of Ray’s life, and who has grown into a very fine young man. Ray and Karen hosted numerous elementary school end-of-year parties for classmates, complete with bouncy castles, giant inflatable slides, tractor-wagon rides around the yard - (actually a small wagon pulled by a riding lawn mower), parachute games, pool parties, lightsabers, freshly made popcorn and cotton candy. Ray later gamely trudged through years of Jonathan’s rugged, sweltering, insect laden, muddy, filthy and gleeful national paintball excursions, documenting the epic battles with scores of photos and videos. Ray became somewhat of an expert photographer after he became a father, and we have thousands of priceless photo memories to treasure.

Ray was preceded in death by his Mother, Marguerite (Peggy) Norris (nee’ Miller), his father, Richard Norris, and a brother, Richard Norris. He is survived by his son, Jonathan Norris of Overland Park, KS, siblings, Robert (Bob) Norris (Patti), Patricia Wienke, Mark Norris and Sean Parnell (Lisa), and many nieces and nephews of North Tonawanda, New York. He is also survived by his son’s mother, Karen Norris, of Overland Park, KS, with whom he shared a home for the last 12 years.

Final Arrangements were handled by Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, Overland Park, KS. In keeping with Ray’s wishes, a very small private viewing was held April 16, prior to cremation, with no planned services at this time.


Ray was much loved and his presence will be profoundly missed

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