Longtime TCMRM Member Ray Norton Passes Away

Dad absolutely loved the Club and the people who were passionate about trains like he was.
-Ray’s daughter Pat

Longtime Twin City Model Railroad Museum member Ray Norton passed away Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Ray was a fixture at the museum almost from the beginning and for some time has been the goodwill ambassador for the museum.

Ray Norton

Ray Norton

Norton, Raymond L., “Ray,” age 93, of Northeast Minneapolis, peacefully passed into eternal life on the 27th of February. Preceded in death by parents George and Maud Norton, and brother Herbert Norton.

Ray will be missed by his loving wife of 67 years, Ileen; son and daughter-in-law Ronald and Madonna Norton; daughter and son-in-law Patricia Norton and H. Curtis Pratt; grandchildren Robert Norton and Laura Pratt; great-grandchildren Desuma and Eiowynn Norton; sister-in-law Inez Clark; many dear friends.

Ray was an expert in all aspects of railroads, having a passion for transportation of all kinds. He was a member of the Twin Cities Model Railroad Club since the 1930s, continuing as an enthusiastic tour guide to the end, and was a charter member and motorman of the Minnesota Transportation Museum.

Ray played the trombone and baritone and sang bass in church and performed with the Engineers Band and the Honeywell Band as well as with the bands on his army posts during WWII. He loved to travel, piling his family into the station wagon every summer to see much of the United States and Canada, and visiting the British Isles.

He loved animals, especially his dogs and grand-dogs. Ray owned and operated Ray’s Train Shop in downtown Minneapolis in the 1950s and worked for Honeywell for more than 20 years.

A service celebrating Ray’s life will be held Thursday, March 1, 11:00 a.m. at Northeast United Methodist Church, Lowry Ave at Cleveland Street NE, Minneapolis. Visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. A lunch will be served immediately after the service, followed by graveside military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred. Washburn McReavey……

Share your Recollections

If you’ve met Ray while visiting the museum, we invite you to share your recollections of your visit in the comments area.

Remembering Ray Norton

An Extended Night Trains Season Special Event: “A Night Trains Reprise – Remembering Raymond L. Norton”

A special fund-raiser benefit for the family of Ray Norton will be held Saturday March 3rd, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Bandana Square Location Only (The Toy Train Division at the Chimneys Building will not be open for the evening). In addition to regular night trains admission, your tax deductible gift in Memory of Ray will be welcomed.

Looking ahead, we plan to make National Train Day, May 12, 2012 another tribute to this special friend of the Museum!



  1. Mike Doyle says:

    The TCMRM and the whole Twin Cities area has lost an Icon in Ray Norton. When I first met Ray about 12 years ago after joining the Museum, I thought “this guy is a walking railroad history book..” He quite often came to the Museum during my Saturday shift, so I got to know him well. It was interesting to watch him talk with our customers. They were all amazed at how much he knew and was willing to share. It was easy to tell that Ray totally enjoyed having those discussions as he always had that mild smile on his face as he talked with enthusiasm. When I was working at the museum, I always had to make sure the trains that were running had the same railroad name on the engine and the caboose so I wouldn’t get chewed out, with a smile of course. Ray always wanted things to be accurate which is part of the reason why the Museum is the way it is, historically correct. I want to thank Ileen for sharing Ray with us. I do not know if there was the glorious sound of a steam locomotive whistle in Heaven, but I will guarantee you, there is now. Rest in peace, Ray.

  2. kevin frazier says:

    this is a big loss i met ray a few weeks ago when me and my girlfriend made our first ever trip to the museum to see the trains i had heard they had one of the best scale layouts in the city i work for the post office and ray let my go behind the scenes to take some close up photos me and my girlfriend had a wonderful time ray was very informative and told me some great stories he will be missed kevin frazier member of the friends of the 261

  3. Bob Prueher says:

    I seen Ray at many train shows at the Minnesota Fair grounds. I don’t think he ever bought anything because he probably had it all. I remember one time I went up to him just to say hi, he and I talked for a few minutes and he told me that they gave him a name tag so he could remember his name. For the breif moment I met him, I could tell he was a good guy. Ray, you will be missed by many. Rest in peace. I don’t thnk they will need name tags in heaven!

  4. Daniel and Char Kerelko says:

    The museum won’t be the same without Ray – he was the expert of experts and such a good ambassador for the club. The love of trains is a gift that creates a lifetime of enjoyment and Ray added to our enjoyment every time we crossed paths at Bandanna Square or other train “doings”.
    Our sympathies go out to the family – we can only imagine what a wonderful husband, father and grandfather he must have been. May your memories sustain you.

  5. Julie Dukowitz says:

    What sad news…. Ray was always so kind to my three children whenever we were at TCMRM and his love of trains was infectious. He will be greatly missed.

  6. Steve & Paul Robichaud says:

    We are very sad to hear of Ray’s passing. We joined the museum as a father and son team back when Paul was just 10 years old. 10 years old was young for a TCMRM member at that time. So I had instructed Paul to be on his best behavior and to follow the rules. On one of our first Saturday work shifts at the Museum, Ray walked in and made the effort to talk to Paul and make him welcome. Ray showed Paul his Hiawatha train and other things on the layout. He explained the history of rail transit and shared his interest in the Soo Line and the local rail system in Minnesota. Ray then proceeded to pull out a tram car he had modified from a three rail and put it on the layout. He cranked up the power and the car zipped around the track at a crazy speed, shooting sparks and making a racket. Paul’s eyes got big a saucers and he turned to me and said, “Can Ray run trains that fast?” Ray overheard Paul’s question and with a twinkle in his eye he turned and said, “No you shouldn’t but at my age there a certain privileges.” Paul and I laughed and watched Ray have fun….which was a lot of fun for us too. We’ll never forget Ray for being such a kind and welcoming person. He will be greatly missed and we hope he has fun running trains in the heavens above.

  7. I was sad to learn of Ray’s passing. Though I hadn’t seen Ray in years. Around the Twin cities anything train related going on, you didn’t have to look far to find Ray.

    When ever I heard any news of Bandana Square, Ray’s name usually was part of it.

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