Obituary: William ‘Bill’ Norris

William “Bill” Norris, 70, passed away on Sunday, July 23, 2017. He was born on June 8, 1947 in Washington D.C., to Priscilla and Bill Norris.  A Vietnam era U.S. Navy veteran, Bill moved to his beloved New Mexico in 1980 where he served our great state as a physician recruiter in Albuquerque and hospital administrator in Cimarron. 

He is survived by his wife, Pam Pearson, father, Bill Norris (95), daughter, Treya Segura (John), two grandsons, Gideon and Gannon, along with sisters, Terry Malerba and Wendy Dungan (Lynn), and brother, Bob (Pam). Four nieces, Lauren Lessard (Eli), Mandy Madler (Bill), Melissa Malerba (Frank), Molly Malerba, one nephew, Mike Norris (Katie), and other loving relatives.

Few New Mexicans know the nooks and crannies of our state like Bill, who logged well over one million miles as a physician recruiter for Presbyterian Hospital while enticing and inspiring adventurous medical experts to serve its remotest regions.  For his candidates, Bill’s encyclopedic knowledge of the state transformed long drives on desolate roads into exciting forays into history.  For friends and family who ventured into the unknown, a phone call to Bill would lead to the best local food, service and coldest beer. 

When it came time to settle down, Bill tackled the immense challenge of developing, funding and running health care services for the remotest areas of Colfax county (over 3100 square miles serving 6,000 residents).  During his twenty-three-year tenure directing healthcare operations, Bill leveraged the experience gained from persuading physicians to relocate to New Mexico’s boondocks in the annual quest to convince state legislators, hospital financial officers and local taxpayers to contribute scarce funds.  Renowned for his fiscal management, Bill husbanded every penny of budgets so tight that the end of year balance typically totaled less than one hundred dollars.  Most importantly, Bill’s legacy to the communities he loved so much occurred just last month when he retired and passed the baton to his protégé, Kaycee Sandoval, and her dedicated team of healthcare providers to run the nursing home, two primary health clinics and the full-service laboratory that serve the needs of their neighbors. In his final act as Director, Bill established the Colfax Healthcare Foundation to raise funds for improved ambulance service to save lives in peril.

Following many years as a volunteer fireman for Ute Park, Bill, and his wife, Pam, served the community for the past six years as certified Emergency Medical Technicians with the Cimarron Volunteer Ambulance Service.  Bill also freely shared his martial arts expertise with students at his dojo in Springer.

As members of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Bill (6th degree black belt) and his best friend, John Cherry (7th degree), rode their motorcycles from Albuquerque to San Antonio, TX, to participate in the induction of the 2017 class of honorees.  While working out with his colleagues of over thirty-five years under the tutelage of their instructor, Grand Master Austin Box, Bill’s heart failed.  All who knew and loved him may take solace knowing that – were he to script his final days on earth – Bill Norris would have written it just as it happened.

Bill’s Albuquerque-based friends and colleagues are invited to join his family at an upbeat celebration of his life at 10 a.m. Sunday, September 10, 2017, at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque.  The service will be followed by a ceremonial motorcycle ride.  Bill’s friends and family in the Colfax area are invited to join us at the historic Cimarroncita ranch (courtesy of the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch) on Saturday, 16 September 2017 (time TBA).

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations in the memory of Bill to the Colfax Healthcare Foundation, 615 Prospect Avenue, Springer, NM 87747.