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Charles Michael Norton - Memorial


In Memory
of our Partner and Friend
Charles Michael Norton

March 23, 1948 – February 21, 2015

Click here for the obituary.
Click here for the Tennessean article.
Click here for the eulogy delivered by Charles W. Bone.
Click here to visit Bone McAllester Norton’s Facebook page, where you can leave a memory.

Memories from the Bone McAllester Norton Family

On September 5, 1978, we began our law practice with Mike Norton in the law firm of Bone & Woods located in Nashville and Gallatin. We thank Jayne Ann Woods for the introduction to Mike. Jayne Ann endorsed Mike as one of the most intelligent young lawyers she had ever met – a native of McMinnville, Tennessee and graduate of Vanderbilt School of Law.

Our 36 years with Mike confirmed not only his intelligence but offered us the opportunity to form an amazing partnership and friendship. He has blessed our lives, our families, our clients and our friends in immeasurable ways. Never, ever, did we have a time or circumstance when we doubted our friendship and respect for each other.

Over the years we came to understand that Mike was our central link, the real magic of our time together. We all loved the law, but we also loved music, movies, politics, parties and food – and Mike knew more about all of these things than anyone. Together we celebrated the marriages, births, birthdays, holidays (especially Halloween), charity walks, bananas foster and margaritas (fondly MAC-aritas), usually with videos produced by Mike.

When we formed Bone McAllester Norton with Stacey Garrett and others in 2002, we believed together that the practice of law was about more than making money. To each of us, it was about embracing diversity and transparency while helping people solve problems and enjoying your work. “Law. Life. Passion.” captured our common pursuit and we have been able to attract an incredible team of lawyers and staff who have joined in this culture, to spend their work lives with us.

We will miss you, Mike – every day we will miss you. We will remember and smile – what a ride! Bless you!

–Charles W. Bone, Sam J. McAllester III, Vicki L. Scruggs

Mike will always, always be my dearest friend. He had a good time; we had a good time. I had so much fun with him, every day. In fact, I cannot recall a day that he was not bearing a smile. It never mattered what was going on with him or how challenging a day we faced with work; his eyes always danced with the mischief of a planned joke. Mike was the smartest person I have ever met. He was a deeply, deeply loyal and fiercely courageous man. He loved his wife, children and grandchildren more than anything. He loved the law too, and he taught me all I know about it. He made it his point to show me that I could have a successful practice, and a full life too. Together, we had the case of a lifetime; the kind people dream about having. I will miss Mike beyond what any words could express, and there will be hard days ahead without my friend. He was an unwavering rock. I am very grateful for the time we knew each other, and for our extraordinary friendship. So, I will honor him by keeping true to what he gave so much of his time to teach me: work hard, play hard, live from the heart and laugh.

–Stacey A. Garrett

Mike has always been the storyteller of our law firm. Mike’s videos for the annual holiday parties always captured the fun of the year and served as a photo album for the family we have here at the law firm. As much as we miss his calm presence and fun sense of humor here in the halls on a daily basis, many of us will reflect on and be reminded of his passing at this year’s holiday party, when we consider our first year without our friend.
–David M. Anthony

I will always remember his great sense of humor and his very contagious laughter. Mike was a great lawyer and a great artist. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will remain with us for a very long time.

–Olatayo O. Atanda

It was an honor to have been mentored and taught by Mike. He was a great teacher to me from my first day as a practicing lawyer until the day he retired last spring, and he truly helped me understand how to be a business transactions lawyer. One of many great memories – at least 12 years ago I think – was camping out at the financial printer’s office for a couple of weeks in New York working through a complex securities filing for our client along with four sets of investment bankers and all of their lawyers. No matter how tense the discussions became late into the night, no matter how smart the rest of us in the room thought we were, it was Mike’s calm, cool demeanor, with his authentic humility and great intellect, that always won the day. For most of my professional life, our offices were next door, and I asked him thousands of questions over the years. I remember the pride I felt several years ago when I had asked for his advice on a yet another legal issue. In his low-key way, he surprised me by saying, “You don’t really need to ask my advice anymore … you know how to do this.” Mike was the consummate teacher … he had a teacher’s love and creative gift for dissecting complicated legal issues so that clients and lawyers could understand how to get to the best answer. We will profoundly miss his teacher’s spirit, his quiet leadership and empathy, his good humor, and most of all his presence in our lives.

–Trace C. Blankenship

I cannot remember a day that I didn’t know Mike, either as a child or as his law partner. As a person, Mike taught us the power of intellect, curiosity, empathy and humor. As a lawyer, Mike taught us that the ability to find the answer was more important than actually knowing the answer. As an older lawyer told me this week, “Mike was one of the all-time good ones.” He will be dearly missed.

–Charles Robert Bone

What an interesting guy. Enormous knowledge about old movies, had a word puzzle used on “Sez You” on NPR, fantastic stamp collages. I will miss that amazing fount of knowledge and fun.

–John P. Branham

Mike Norton will continue to be remembered as a sharp mind driven by the gentlest of souls. Mike’s passion for the law was exceeded only by his passion for life. He was a Renaissance Man in every sense of the word and made my life and my career better. He leaves this world in God’s friendship. He embodies the motto, “Life. Law. passion.”

–William J. (Paz) Haynes III

Mike was a lawyer’s lawyer. He not only loved the law, but he loved to share his wisdom with others. He guided many young lawyers to try harder, reach further and challenge the status quo. I will miss his quick wit, sense of humor and discussing movies and good food with him. I feel fortunate that he was the lawyer who interviewed me when I went into private practice and that I had the opportunity to work with him for almost 20 years.

–Sharon (Sheri) O. Jacobs

Although he had many roles, I knew Mike primarily as a lawyer. His legal mind was unmatched. The legal profession, as well as BMN, were brighter for the energy, intensity and intellect he brought to his practice. He was without question a “lawyer’s lawyer.” I will miss him.

–Paul W. Kruse

To me, Mike Norton is a great lawyer, trusted mentor and so much more. No matter how busy he was, he always had a smile and a kind word for me when I encountered him. Although small, these gestures were grand for me. If you add in the fact that he made the most amazing bananas foster ever (and would give me extra syrup upon request), it is apparent why I will forever hold him in such high regards.

–Andrea P. Perry

Several years ago, three of us lawyers dressed as the 1970s versions of Bone, McAllester, and Norton for Halloween. I went as Mike. I knew from his wry grin that my green polyester jacket was on point. His sense of humor was one of my favorite things about him. His ability to laugh, and his calm in solving really complex and difficult issues, were among the many things he showed us younger lawyers.

–Christopher J. Raybeck

Mike Norton and I were law school classmates so I have known him for over forty years. Before law school, Mike had been a teacher. Perhaps that explains his joy of learning. He was curious about lots of things. He may be the only person I know who has read the entire encyclopedia. He embraced technology and could create a slideshow with artistry and beauty. He collected postcards and created works of art from stamps. He continued teaching even after he became a lawyer. Not only did he enjoy being a lawyer by explaining a complex legal point but he also could take a law firm’s financial statement apart and understand the management of the law firm. He could explain how to make a law firm profitable as easily as he could explain an intricate tax problem. And he could do it with humor and ease. He was a steadying influence who will be greatly missed. I am proud to have been his law partner.

–Jack F. Stringham

I think there are two things I will always remember about Mike. First and foremost, his commitment to the practice of law – as an attorney, as a mentor to young attorneys, and as a founder of our firm. Second, as a fully engaged participant in our Halloween Costume Party – Mike’s costumes were unforgettable, and memories of Mike at Halloween will always bring a smile to my heart. I am blessed to be part of the BMN family, and I am grateful to Mike for his commitment to building this firm. He will be missed and always remembered.

–Stephanie R. Taylor

For over twenty five years, I have been privileged to practice law with Mike Norton. In my early years, I was told to contact Mike if I had questions. I quickly learned that his legal expertise and common sense solutions were invaluable. In the last ten years, I saw another talent – Mike was creative. He often produced videos of highlights for the law firm that would also include clips from his extensive movie collection.

Yesterday, quite by accident, I found a card that Mike had shared with me. It was a picture of one of Mike’s postage stamp collages that had been displayed at the Appalachian Center for Craft. The card was a reminder of his many talents.

Dianne and I extend our sympathy to Susan and family.

–William R. Wright

His life has been cut too short. He had so much more to give and to enjoy. At Mike’s retirement party, he said “I’ve always loved the law and always loved being a lawyer.” His love was contagious, and is a very big part of why so many of his partners also love the law and love being a lawyer. I feel so fortunate to have known him and to have practiced law beside him. I’ll miss his quiet presence, his great sense of humor and his steady confidence in each of us.

–Stephen J. Zralek


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