Leonard J. Norry died peacefully at his home in Durham, North Carolina on September 2, 2023, with his son and daughter-in-law by his side. He was born November 24, 1935 in Buffalo, New York to Rose and Irving Norry. He moved to Rochester at age 2 and to Maryland at age 14, where he graduated from Bladensburg High School as Valedictorian in 1953. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland in 1957.
Len joined the Washington D.C. National Guard in 1959, serving six months active duty in the army followed by several years in the Guard. He began his career with the Federal Government at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory as a Safety Program Specialist. Soon thereafter, he took a position as a Survey Statistician at the Housing Division of the Census Bureau, and this would be his professional home for the next 45 years. During this time, he led a field office in Queen, New York for the 1970 Census, directing more than 100 enumerators as they went into the field to track down nonresponders, ensuring that every person was counted and heard. He also helped author the American Housing Survey in 1975, and traveled all across the globe to help local government officials. He retired as an assistant Division Chief, having received the Meritorious Service Award from the Department of Commerce in 2003.
In 1968, Len was selected to complete a yearlong Fellowship for Graduate Study in Public Administration from the National Institute of Public Affairs at Stanford University. While at Stanford, he met Patricia Goodwin, an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission, who was also completing the fellowship. Pat and Len married on December 5, 1969 at her parents’ home in Washington, D.C. Their first and only child, Douglas, was born in 1972, and they lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland for many years, surrounded by a large family.
Pat and Len relocated to Durham, North Carolina in 2014 to be near their son, daughter-in-law (Carrie Sloan Norry), and three grandchildren (Will, Emily, and Kate), whom he adored. Having retired in 2006, Len turned his attention to Triangle Day School, where his son works and his grandchildren attended. He volunteered as a bus driver, lunch helper, and basketball scorekeeper for close to a decade.
Len relished his role as a husband, father, grandfather, and uncle, attending countless family birthdays, graduations, weddings, vacations, and celebrations of all sorts. Pat and Len celebrated their 50th anniversary in Rehoboth Beach, DE in 2019. Len loved bowling, card games (most of all, poker!), and watching sports at any level, particularly if his grandchildren were playing. Len never met a stranger; he struck up conversations with everyone who entered his world. He will be remembered for his many quirks, his consumer advocacy, his feisty and competitive spirit, his struggles with technology, and above all else his kind heart, big smile, and incredible warmth.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Triangle Day School.
The funeral service will be Monday, September 4 at 1:00 pm at Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Road in Durham. It will also be live streamed at judeareform.org. The Norry family will sit shiva, receiving visitors at their home on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm - 9:00pm.