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Leon Fredrick (Fred) Norris, PhD, of Holland, Michigan, passed away at home on November 28, 2022.He was born June 8, 1938 in Lansing, Michigan to Keith B. and Mary Blanche (Hagaman) Norris.

Fred was a proud graduate of University of Michigan where he obtained a PhD in Engineering Materials in 1965. After graduation, he served in the United States Navy, working for NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio for two years. He subsequently worked for 12 years at Sherritt Gordon Mines, Ltd, in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, doing research in powder metallurgy where his name appeared on several patents. In 1978, he moved back to Michigan, taking a position at Howmet Turbine Components Corporation (now Howmet Aerospace, Inc.), becoming the Director of Technical Services before his retirement.

In addition to an illustrious career, Fred was a passionate musician. His first love was the piano, and he performed with the Lansing Symphony while in high school and later with the West Michigan Symphony. Beyond performing as a soloist, he found his calling as a piano accompanist. Over the years, Fred accompanied thousands of young musicians, both instrumental and vocal. He was also a member of Camerata Singers for many years and played the organ and piano at church services for most of his life. He held leadership positions in various music organizations from the Alberta Music Festival to the West Michigan Symphony.

Fred was a lifelong Christian Scientist, most recently as a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Grand Haven.

Known for his generous heart and active mind, Fred was always ready to lend a hand or solve a problem, and he made friends wherever he went. He truly never met a stranger.

Fred is survived by his wife, Joanna; six children, Amy (MJ) and Eric (Jen) Norris, Bill (Anne), Chad (Sally), Greg (Kara) and Chris (Rebecca) Black, and eleven grandchildren: Jordan, Brandon, Demi, Landon, Charlie, Carter, Sarah, Conor, Liam, Rowan and Olivia.  Fred was predeceased by his sister, Jeanne Sparks, and his former wife Bobbi Lewis, Amy and Eric’s mother.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: West Michigan Symphony (, 360 W Western Ave STE 200, Muskegon, MI 49440

The family is planning a Celebration of Life in the spring.


To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Fred’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, 616-452-3006.


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9 Condolences

  1. Betty Kurtz on December 4, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Joey and family:
    What a true gem of a person we have lost and heaven has gained. Fred’s endless talents and gifts that he so willingly shared with us all are to be remembered and cherished forever. I consider myself truly blessed to have met him and counted him as a friend. Blessings to all,

  2. Gail Brechting on December 5, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Joey and family,
    May you be consoled and comforted by all the amazing friends you both have had through life. Fred was such a increíble human being! I am so very blessed to have known you both!
    May he Rest In Peace.
    Frank and Gail Brechting

  3. Don & Kathy Dahlstrom on December 6, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    We got to know Fred and Joey by sitting next to them at WMSO classic concerts the past several years. Always great conversations. We’ll miss him.

  4. Jo Anas Buchanan on May 27, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    To Fred’s family,
    My association with Fred was during high school in Lansing, MI. We were in the same class, a mid-year graduating class of something about 108 to 118 students, as I remember, a good size–lots of variety but we weren’t lost in the crowd.
    Everyone admired Fred for his musicality. He was way beyond the rest of us high school musicians. He was friendly, genuine, generous, and oh so bright.
    If memory serves, the last time I saw him was at a high school reunion–Fred came from Alberta, perhaps the classmate who traveled the greatest distance. It was wonderful to meet again when we were no longer teenagers.

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