Norman Joseph William Thrower, 100, was born October 23, 1919, in Crowthorne, England, and he passed away peacefully in his sleep September 2 at his home in Pacific Palisades.
Norman attended art school at Reading University. His art training was interrupted by WWII.
At 21 he was drafted by the British army. His artillery unit ended up in India. Because of his art skills he was able to join The Survey of India, train as a cartographer and make topographic maps during the war. After the war he returned to England where he did cartography for the Directorate of Colonial Surveys.
He met his wife Betty who was stationed in England with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. They married in England August 9, 1947, and moved to the United States the same year. Norman received his B.A. in geography from the University of Virginia in 1953. He received his Ph.D. in geography with a minor in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin in 1957. He joined the geography department at UCLA where he rose to the highest rank of full professor.
In 1963 Norman received a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book on Edmond Halley published by the Hakluyt Society. In 1975 he was appointed to the Sir Frances Drake Commission to make preparations for the 400th celebration of Drake’s circumnavigation of the world. From 1981-87, he was appointed William Andrews Clark Memorial Library director. He was also Head of the Columbus Quincentenary Programs from 1989-93.
Norman produced numerous publications, including “Man’s Domain: a Thematic Atlas of the World” (1968) and “Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society” (1996).
Many of his graduate students mentioned that Norman was a great mentor. Among the many organizations he belonged to was the California Map Society of which he was the first president.
Norman and Betty traveled extensively world wide during the course of his career, including a six-month sabbatical throughout Western Europe and many other countries, including Japan, Australia and most of the United States.
Norman was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Thrower, and is survived by three children, Page Mosier (Dan), Anne Leonard and Mary Kerr (Bob), and by five granddaughters, Jennifer Mosier, Alexis and Adrienne Leonard, and Elizabeth and Anna Kerr.
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