Cover photo for Richard Johnston Norse's Obituary
1953 Richard 2021

Richard Johnston Norse

December 22, 1953 — May 30, 2021

On Monday, May 31, 2021, Richard Johnston Norse (“Rick”) passed away unexpectedly at the age of 67 in his home on Lake Oswego, Oregon.

The eldest son of Robert Norse and Eleanor Norse (née Johnston), Rick was born on December 22, 1953 in Medford, Massachusetts, living there until his parents moved to West Covina, California. Joined by his younger brother Billy, Rick grew up across the street from his lifelong friends, the Caldwells. The boys summered with their mother in Lincolnville, Maine, where Rick began lifelong friendships with his five cousins, the children of Sid and Sally Aylaian.

Rick attended Whittier College for a time, exploring a love of geology, including a trip to Hawaii, and studying abroad in Denmark. He later graduated from California State-Fullerton with a degree in International Business.

Rick met his ex-wife Rachel through the college and career youth group at Glenkirk Presbyterian. They were married by Rev. Munk in 1981, and welcomed their only child, David, to the world in 1986. Rick encouraged his son’s love of the outdoors, international travel, enjoying the food of the world, and the joy of family.  He often said to David, when he was contemplating a new adventure or risking something hard in ministry, “Go for it!”

In 1990, the family moved to the suburbs of Portland, Oregon to advance Rick’s career in direct marketing. In 1992, the family joined as members of Tualatin Presbyterian Church, where Rick worshipped for the remainder of his life.

Rick loved building and launching model rockets, sailing, snorkeling, riding dirtbikes, fishing, and cruising on his motorcycle (which he bought while in college and brought home on Mother’s Day, much to his mom’s surprise!) He will be remembered as a brilliant marketer, a generous friend, a good neighbor, and a loving father, son, brother, and cousin.

He is survived by his father, Robert Norse; his ex-wife, Rachel Norse (née Kaiser); his son, Reverend David Norse Thomas and David’s husband, R. Eric Thomas; his brother, Billy Norse and sister-in-law, Gail; his aunt, Sally Aylaian (née Johnston); and his “East Coast Cousins” and their children.

Rick will be remembered at a memorial service on Zoom on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 4:00 PM Pacific time. All are welcome to attend at

In July, his family will gather in Maine to bury his ashes at sea, honoring Rick’s final wishes. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to his home congregation, Tualatin Presbyterian Church (, or where his son pastors, Maryland Presbyterian Church (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Johnston Norse, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Virtual Memorial Service

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Starts at 4:00 pm (Pacific time)

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