Norton Mark Hintz
Hintz, Norton Mark Nuclear physicist, photo-grapher and founder of the Minnesota Opera, died February 11, 2016 at Methodist Hospital in St Louis Park, MN. He was 93. A lover of good food, modest wine and classical music, he was - in his prime - a lithe, natural dancer who made many a woman feel as beautiful and graceful as Ginger Rogers when he spun her around a dance floor. He body-surfed from the beaches of Malibu, CA well into his late 80s, and made a point of plunging into the still-icy St. Croix River before the end of May each spring. Norton read three newspapers a day and was midway through a half-dozen science biographies, novels and WWII histories in the days before his death. Born in Milwaukee, WI on November 22, 1922, Norton grew up in Los Angeles where his father, Mark Hintz, owned two radio stores. His mother, Ruth Norton, was a former Latin teacher who raised Norton and his siblings Lucille and David. They predecease him. He earned a two-year photography degree at Los Angeles City College in 1942 and a B.A. in physics at UCLA in 1944. He enlisted in the navy which posted him to an aircraft radar school in Cambridge, MA and then to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. After the war he returned to UCLA for a refresher year in physics before enrolling at Harvard University in 1948. After finishing his PhD in June 1951, Norton and his wife Bri Alva Knorr and their infant son Matthew sailed to England where he had a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. In 1952 he joined the University of Minnesota faculty where he taught until his retirement in 1991. Over the decades he published some 90 papers on nuclear structure and the interaction of nucleons in the nucleus. Besides the U of MN, he did research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, Brookhaven, NY, and at the Indiana University cyclotron. Norton always had his Hasselblad on hand to photograph famous physicist friends at play, and later donated many of the pictures to the Emilio Segre Visual Archives of the American Institute of Physics. He sold his classic black-and-white landscapes and urban scenes through Photogenesis Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. On its 50th anniversary in 2012, the Minnesota Opera honored Norton as its founding board president. In the early 1960s, Norton started the opera as a project of the Center Arts Council, a volunteer organization affiliated with Walker Art Center. Renamed Minnesota Opera in 1973, the company has exceeded his dreams by continuing to commission new work and to reinterpret the traditional repertoire. Norton is survived by his wife Mary Abbe, the Star Tribune's visual art critic, son Mark, daughter Megan Meade and her husband Michael and their children Alec and Isabel, and his former wife Bri Knorr. His son Matthew predeceased him. A memorial gathering will be held later.
Published on February 14, 2016
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