Year Born: 1922
Year Died: 2008
Norton, Robert “Bob” Jeffrey (1922-2008)
Bob became known as “RJ” in his long and varied career in broadcasting. He started by enlisting in WW II, received training as a radar operator, studied engineering and as his career developed, he became a top national sales-engineer executive in the industry.
His introduction to the medium was in the RCAF, receiving training at McGill University then being transferred to the RAF base at Cranwell in the UK. He operated radar stations in the UK, in Belgium and Germany. Returning to Montreal in 1945 with Joyce, his English wife, he took Engineering Physics at McGill, graduating with honours in 1950. His first job was with RCA in Montreal where he worked mostly on broadcasting projects, one of which was the installation on Mount Royal of Canada’s first licensed television transmitter; this was for the CBC in 1952. Another was his assignment to RCA International to Copenhagen where he solved a unique problem involving a pair of FM transmitters feeding into a broadband FM Pylon antenna.
In 1954 Bob and family moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where Bob had accepted the position of Chief Engineer of CJBC and, as such, supervised the installation of CJCB- TV, the first private TV station in that province.
Three years later, the family returned to Montreal where Bob joined RCA’s Marketing Division. Then in 1960 Bob was appointed Ontario Regional Manager for their Technical Products Division, headquartered in Toronto. His first major project there was to supervise their contract with CFTO-TV for the installation of the studio equipment, the transmitter and its 1,000-foot tower- a 3.5-million dollar project.
In 1967, Bob again left RCA, this time to become Chief Engineer for the ETV Division of the Ontario Department of Education,- which became TV Ontario. But -7 months later he was lured back into selling broadcast equipment, this time for Applied Electronics Limited (AEL). After two years there he re-joined RCA for five years as Regional Sales Manager for Ontario.
But then in 1974 he returned to AEL where he stayed for the remainder of his career.
Especially after moving into the sales field, Bob Norton became a popular and respected member of the engineering fraternity, traveling :from coast-to-coast and attending regional and international meetings of broadcast organizations. His peers often referred to Bob as “…trustworthy – the kind of guy who, if he knew a competitor’s particular product was superior to one in his catalogue, he would not hesitate to recommend the better one”. In 1989 the Atlantic Engineers Association ensconced him as “A Friend of the Industry”. Another highlight was in 1992 when the Central Canada Broadcast Engineers Association named him “Ambassador of the Year’.
Robert Jeffrey Norton died in Toronto in June 2008, after a lengthy illness.