Thomas J. Norris, 62, a resident of Wheaton, formerly of Oak Park, died peacefully on March 5, 2021 at his home, surrounded by his family after a long hard battle with cancer. Born on April 4, 1958 in Chicago to Edward and Margaret Norris, he grew up in Oak Park, the youngest of nine children. Coming from a long line of athletes, he excelled on the basketball court leading his Oak Park and River Forest High School team to a third-place finish in state his senior year (1976). He was eventually inducted to the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 for his achievements. He continued his playing career at Baylor University and then the University of Illinois Chicago. Soon after graduating from UIC in 1981, he married his high school sweetheart, Terri Hakes, and the two moved to Wheaton. There they raised their three sons.
He worked in the beverage industry in various sales and managerial positions for more than 35 years at various companies. His wit and charm made him a successful manager, but his real passions were sports, family, and faith. He served the Wheaton community and his sons for over 20 years as a coach in various youth programs, including the boys travel basketball, park district baseball, and Rams youth football. He relished every opportunity to teach young people about the power of sports and the lessons that come with it. He also became very involved in various ministries at his parish, St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton, working with the refugee ministry and as a teacher in the religious education program.
His gifts included storytelling and his contagious sense of humor. He was a true “family man”. He had the ability to bring out the best in others, making them always feel loved and valued.
Tom Norris is survived by Terri, his wife of 38 years; his three sons, Tom, Sean (Sarah) and Ed Norris; his grandchildren, Lydia & Miriam; his siblings, MaryJo Delihant, Edward (Lynn) Norris, Jeff (Janine) Norris, Julie Norris and Margaret Norris; and his sisters-in-law, Barb & Linda Norris.
He was preceded in death by his siblings Mike, Kathy and David, and his parents.
A visitation will be held Friday, March 12, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Hultgren Funeral Home, 304 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL 60187 where a service of remembrance will begin at 7 p.m. Guests are asked to wear a facial covering and maintain social-distancing guidelines. Only 50 guests are allowed in the funeral home at one time. You may be asked to remain outside until someone exits.
Funeral services will take place on Saturday, March 13 at 9:15 a.m. from the funeral home to St. Michael Catholic Church for Mass at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.
The service of remembrance and the Funeral Mass will be livestreamed.