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People From Bristol’s Past: Stretch Norton

Stretch Norton | Photo courtesy Lynda J. Russell

As a lifelong Bristol resident, Stretch Norton believed strongly in community service and was active in politics as a city councilman for six terms and served as Mayor of Bristol from 1969-1971.

He was instrumental in numerous public works projects including the Little League complex, the Hoppers, Barnes Nature Center and Indian Rock Camp.

His leadership in the redevelopment of Middle Street paved the way for ESPN to locate in Bristol. He was a devoted member of the Yale Club which arranges scholarships for local students to attend the college.

Stretch participated in the family business, Lake Compounce, throughout his life.

He was passionate about Big Band music and was personally acquainted with all of the Band leaders who performed at the Lake.

He also loved Country music and traveled to Nashville personally to arrange the Sunday afternoon shows. He was responsible for instituting Ethnic Nights and continuing the Crocodile Tradition.

With the help of dedicated volunteers, he opened the Lake in 1993 to keep it’s record of the oldest family-owned amusement park intact. An avid sportsman, he played basketball and softball for many years.

Each year he traveled to a remote island in Maine to fish with his buddies. He was the oldest member of Chippanee Golf Club.

He was a die-hard Yankee fan and loyal follower of UCONN girls basketball.

Stretch proudly served in the US Navy for 35 years and retired from Reserve Duty as Captain.

He was a World War II Veteran and served aboard the USS Rehoboth.

“Stretch” died on April 3, 2009, and was 86.

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