Natalie (Norby) Cannon

June 22, 1935 ~ August 1, 2018 (age 83)

Natalie Norby Cannon, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at the age of 83, following a tenacious five year fight against cancer.


Natalie was born on June 22, 1935, to Bert and Eunice Norby, in Wolf Point, Montana, where her father had a candy shop and soda fountain.  The family later moved to Missoula, where she attended high school. 


She graduated from the University of Montana with honors in 1957.  While at UM she edited the Sentinel, and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Mortar Board, an academic honors society.


Natalie married Ross Cannon, a graduate of the UM School of Law, in 1957.  The couple moved to Washington, D.C., where Natalie was a social worker for Travelers Aid and Ross worked as an attorney for the Interstate Commerce Commission. 


They returned to Montana to support the gubernatorial campaign of Natalie’s father-in-law, Montana Lt. Governor Paul Cannon, settling in Helena where Ross started a law practice while Natalie obtained a B.A. in elementary education from UM.  She taught in the Helena school system from 1962 until 1965, when she stopped teaching to raise their three children and focus on civic activities.


During her years in Helena, Natalie was active in organizations including the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.  In 1964, newly-elected Governor Forrest Anderson appointed her chair of his Inaugural Ball Committee. 


From 1967-73, she organized and led coalitions that successfully lobbied the Montana legislature for funding for public kindergartens and for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  She served two terms on the Common Cause National Governing Board from 1972-80.  She also served on the AAUW National Legislative Committee.


Natalie earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from UM, after which she worked on the staff of the Director’s Office, Montana Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, from 1978‑80.


Following her divorce in 1980, Natalie returned to Washington, D.C., where she was a legislative assistant for Montana Senator John Melcher from 1980-88, and the Senate Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate.  In 1988, she became Minority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Human Services Committee on Aging, U.S. House of Representatives.  From there she moved to the U.S. Administration on Aging in Washington, D.C., later transferring to the Seattle office of that agency, where she worked until she retired in 2009.  


Natalie was a dedicated fan of the Seattle Sounders and the Mariners.  She loved gardening, travel, entertaining, and the Oregon coast.  She was a “foodie” before the term was invented and was known for preparing epic family feasts.


She was preceded in death by her parents, Bert and Eunice (Wahl) Norby, and her brothers Duane Norby and Stuart Norby. 


Natalie leaves behind three children, Stephanie Cannon of Los Angeles, David Cannon (Bridget Maley) of San Francisco, Stacy Cannon (Loreto Julian) of Seattle, and one grandson, Paul Colman (“Cole”) Cannon, son of David and Bridget Cannon.


A memorial service will be held in Seattle on September 8, 2018.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.


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