Ricky Alfonso Norton was born September 20, 1961, to Roy and Linnie B. Norton in Prescott, Arkansas. Ricky accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at First Baptist Church in Okolona under the leadership of G. H. Jones. He grew up in Okolona, where he was a proud graduate of the Okolona High School Class of 1980.
Ricky developed a love for the sport of basketball at an early age. Rain or shine, he did not miss a single day of “Shooting Hoops” in the yard. Ricky played high school basketball for the Okolona Bears under the leadership Coach Wiley Brooks. During his high school career, Ricky would pack the gym with the likes of Former President Bill Clinton, the late legendary Kentucky basketball Coach Joe B. Hall, and the late Eddie Sutton. He made the McDonalds All American Team in 1980. Ricky averaged 28 points per game and once scored 51 points in a single game. Upon graduating high school, Ricky played for the Razorbacks at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1980 to 1984. During his time with the Razorbacks, the team won two Southwest Conference regular season Championships, one Southwest Conference Tournament Championship, and in each of his four seasons, the team made it to the NCAA tournament advancing to the “Sweet Sixteen” in 1981 and 1983.
Ricky and Andranette Leeper were high school sweethearts and later married April 27,1985. They had two children, Shalisa and Donte. He later joined Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where Rev. Rufus R. Hatley was the pastor. He served as an Usher and Trustee. Ricky will be remembered for his back-to-school pep talks that he gave the kids each year. He served the community in many ways. He started the Pee Wee Basketball program in Delight, the Sonya L. Cook Jamboree, and brought in Former Razorback players to speak at the Delight Elementary sixth grade commencement. He was the “neighborhood” watch and would often go and patrol the community. He would check on the sick and shut-in by visiting and calling. He would even volunteer and take community members to doctors appointments.
Ricky held various positions with the ARKLA Gas Company, International Paper Company, and AllCare Pharmacy where he developed a special relationship with former state Senator Percy Malone.
Ricky enjoyed chillin’ in his mancave, listening to his music of all genres (Rap, Old School, R&B and Gospel), watching his favorite Westerns, wrestling and sports, calling his siblings and spending countless hours on the phone with them. He absolutely loved spending time with his grandchildren and his extended family; Lucy, Crystal, Mesha and Taylen “Big Momma”.
After 61 years of living a great life, he transitioned on October 13, 2022, with family and friends by his side.
Ricky was preceded in death by his parents Roy and Linnie B. Norton. Five Siblings; Dorthy Martin, Linda Norton, Alvin and Calvin Norton, and James Duncan.
Ricky will be remembered by family and friends for the laughter he brought into their lives. His BIG ATTITUDE and he will also be also remembered for his passion of lending a helping hand to all generations. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 37 years, Andranette Norton of Okolona; two children, Shalisa (Derrik) Dixon of Okolona and Donte (Morrissa) Norton of North Little Rock; three grandchildren, Khye Dixon, Kam Dixon and Ava Norton; one brother, Harold (Norma) Norton of Palo Alto, Calif.; five sisters, Carol (Billy Joe) Payne of Palo Alto, Calif., Brenda Winfrey of Okolona, Sherry (Charles) Dickerson of Arkadelphia, Terry (Isaih) Jernigan of Hot Springs, and Patricia Norton of Palo Alto; uncles and aunts, Rogers (Delores) Norton, Johnny Sorrells, Evelyn Purifoy, Esther Harris, and Alice Henry. Ricky had a special relationship with his Aunt Esther Norton and niece Debra (Jerry) Miller. He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.
Visitation will be Friday, Oct. 21, from 1-6 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home. Services will be held at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Okolona on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Rufus R. Hatley officiating.
Honorary pallbearers will be Arkansas Razorbacks 1980-1984, Charles Balentine, Carey Kelly, Joe Kleine, Eugene Nash, US Reed, Alvin Robertson, Darrell Walker, OHS Class of 1980, Family &, Friends, Carl Buford, Bobby W. Dixon, Sammy Gill, Donald Hale, Ronald Hale, Danny Hart, Don W. Leeper, Tim Leeper, Charlie Smith, and Curtis Smith. Active pallbearers will be A. Alex Assadi, Wes Campbell, Derrick Beard, Chad Dixon, Corey Hunter, Brandon Hunter, Channing McDaniel, and James Riley.