Former Mabel man turns 100
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 4:37 AM
Retired Rear Admiral Paul R. Norby turns 100 years old on May 16.
Paul met Dorothy Erickson, daughter of Chris and Georgia Erickson of Mabel, during their college years at St. Olaf in Northfield. He graduated in 1936 and Dorothy graduated in 1937. They were married in 1939 in the Erickson family home on North Maple Street.
Paul became a Naval Aviator Cadet in 1938 and was transferred to the Naval Air Station in San Diego, Calif., attached to Bombing Squadron 4 aboard carrier USS Ranger. At the beginning of WWII, Paul was attached to Bombing Squadron 3 aboard carrier USS Saratoga. By the end of the war Paul had made over 380 aircraft carrier landings, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He continued in the Navy as a "weekend warrior" at the Naval Air Station in Minneapolis. In 1959, Paul was promoted to Rear Admiral and retired in 1973.
In the active Navy years, Paul and Dorothy moved several times from California to Florida, to New Jersey then Massachusetts, and back to California again.
In 1945, after WWII ended, the couple settled in Mabel, where they lived for the rest of their lives together.
Paul became the proprietor of Erickson Men's Clothing Store, the store Dorothy's father owned on Main Street until his death in 1945. Paul and Dorothy changed the name of the store to Norby's. In 1955, Paul became the Mabel postmaster until he retired in 1976.
Paul was involved in many activities in Mabel, including being a First Lutheran Church Sunday School teacher and church council director. He was vice president of the First State Bank and volunteered with the Boy Scouts and Mabel Business Association. He was a school board member, served as the village clerk, was the Mabel-Area Hospital president and president of the Mabel Clinic. He was also a VFW Life member, a member of the American Legion, parade chairman for the annual homecoming festivities, and in his words, involved in "most everything that went on in the city."
Paul and Dorothy raised two adopted children, Stephen Norby, who lives in Wayzata with his wife, Jane, and Christy Diggins, who lives in San Ramon, Calif., and has two children, Kelly and Kevin, who also live in California.
Paul and Dorothy built their "new" home on Melby Drive in 1955 and lived there long into their retirement years. Dorothy passed away in 2000. In 2003 Paul moved to a senior apartment in Minnetonka to be closer to his son, although he made several trips a year to visit Mabel until he sold the house in 2007.
Birthday greetings may be sent to Paul at PO Box 646, Wayzata, MN 55391.