Norb was elected to the Safari Club International (SCI) Hall of Honor in 2001, the national Archery Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
He was a technical consultant to the Archery Trade Association (ATA); served as an expert witness in many product liability lawsuits, almost always representing the manufacturer; wrote several technical articles in the late 1970s for Bowhunting World; wrote a Q&A column in The Bowhunter, the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association’s magazine; and served more than 20 years on the WBH Board of Directors. He also designed and built his own compound bows in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Norb earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, both from the University of Wisconsin. He spent most of his career with A. O. Smith Co/Railroad Products Division, retiring in 1987 as the general manager of that division. Early in his career with A. O. Smith, he helped design the landing gear for B-29 bombers.
During World War II, Norb served in the Navy on an LCIG (Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat). The mission of such a boat was to precede an invasion, paralleling the intended landing area to fire all its rockets on one side of the boat, then turn around and take the same path to fire all its rockets on the second side of the boat. He was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lt. j.g. He had first been a maintenance officer, then was promoted to Executive Officer, the second-ranking man on the ship.
“The world of bowhunting was built by legends — forward thinkers who dared to dream of something bigger — and Norb was one of these legends,” said Jace Bauserman, editor-in-chief of Bowhunting World. “He was a true visionary in many ways, and we at Bowhunting World are deeply saddened by his death, but his legacy will forever live on.”
“I first met Norb back in the late 1970s when I was a young writer breaking into the archery and bowhunting markets,” said Bob Robb, editorial director of Grand View Outdoors and current back page columnist for Bowhunting World. “His early bow tests were some of the first to use actual science, not just perception and conjecture, to measure performance — a format soon to be copied by competitors. And his dry wit and sharp mind made him one of the most interesting folks you could speak with. We’ve truly lost a pioneer.”
Norb is survived by his wife, Teddy (Carol), three children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Son Michael also served in the Navy, and four grandsons are currently on active duty in the Navy, one as a Navy SEAL.