Former Mamaroneck Teacher
Otty Norwood Passes Away
Otty Ruben Norwood, 97, died peacefully at his home in Branford, CT on Saturday, March 11th. Born June 3rd,1925 in St. John, New Brunswick. Otty is survived by his beloved wife Perdita, his children Mary Elizabeth Winkle (Paul), Pamela Norwood, Robert Norwood (Yianni Makredes), Constance Brophy (James), his five grandchildren; Elizabeth Winkle, Robert Winkle, Henry Winkle, Mary Clare Brophy and Caroline Brophy, nieces and nephews and his brother, Donald Norwood.
He was a loving, generous, unflaggingly supportive father. And his sterling character, fairness, undeviating positivity, and ribald sense of humor were the greatest of the gifts he gave to his family. Otty was a devoted, loving husband. First for 28 years, to Clare O’Brien. They married and moved to the US in 1955 where they raised their four children. Clare died in 1983.
Otty later met Perdita Kirkness and they married in 1987, settled in Branford and enjoyed 35 tremendously happy years together.
When asked for his secret to such a long life, Otty would always say “Never stop working. Always keep learning”. After graduating from the University of New Brunswick, he became a teacher at St. John’s Beaconsfield School at age of 21. At 24, he became the youngest principal in the school’s history. During summers he earned his BA at UNB and later, his master’s and Doctorate at Columbia University in New York.
As a School Superintendent he made an impact throughout his career.
In 1960s Weston, Massachusetts, he played a pivotal role in developing what remains as the longest continuously running voluntary school desegregation program.
During his 16 years in the Mamaroneck school system, in addition to being famous as the Canadian who rarely gave snow days, he was credited with making it one of the best school systems in the country.
He piloted anti-drug policies in Weston, CT. schools, a move covered by The New York Times. He taught graduate classes at NYU and was President of the Educational Records Bureau.
When he retired, he co-founded Pro-Write, a digital writing platform and volunteered generously as a writing coach for the New Haven Police Department, children’s tutor, an ESL teacher, a member of the Branford Zoning Board and the Branford Garden Club. He developed senior-focused content at BCTV.
One of his earliest students said, “Teachers come and go in your life but this guy, you never forget.”
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, May 8th at 11 AM at Trinity Episcopal Church in Branford, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Otty by learning something new in his memory or with an act of kindness.