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3-year-old Paxton Norton remembered by friends, family and LDS general authorities

Published: Monday, July 22 2013 9:00 p.m. MDT

The conclusion of the funeral service for three-year-old Paxton Norton on July 22, 2013. Pallbearers: Camden Norton, Mackay Norton, Chris Rasband, Dave Chase, Dave Keller, Eddie Norton, James MacPherson, Jason Norton, Mike Gratzinger, Randy Norton, Ricky Norton and Ryan Werlich.

Sarah Sanders Petersen

HIGHLAND — Three-year-old Paxton Edward Norton was remembered Monday afternoon for always having a smile on his face, for consistently showing his love for his family and for the everlasting imprint he made on so many in his short time on earth.

After struggling since birth with a rare genetic condition, his fight against 7-q deletion came to an end last Wednesday, only a few days after his third birthday.

During the funeral service, parents Shannon and David Norton of Highland, Utah, reflected on some of their favorite memories of their son, along with Paxton's grandparents, including Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve was also in attendance with his wife, along with Elder Donald L. Hallstrom and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy and their wives.

Paxton’s mother, Shannon Norton, addressed the congregation first, after a life sketch was given by Paxton’s grandmother Melanie Rasband, and a musical number was performed by Paxton’s great aunt, Michelle Farnsworth.

Shannon Norton began by expressing her gratitude for the opportunity she was given to be Paxton's mother.

“It has been the greatest blessing in my life, thus far, to be your mother,” she said. “To have the blessing of caring for you each day and hold you in my arms has been my greatest joy. You have been my best friend.”

Although Shannon Norton and her son were unable to verbally communicate, she described the special connection she was able to make with her son and will forever cherish.

“Our spirits have communicated without the use of words, one look and we knew just what the other felt and needed,” she said.

Although it took extra work, having her son with her was always Shannon’s primary concern.

“(I will miss) having you with me, wherever I was, and constantly checking the monitors for moments I was not with you making sure you were OK. And the pride and joy I felt, showing up anywhere with you at my side, taking care of you. … I always cherished caring for you wherever we went.”

In just three short years, Shannon Norton said, Paxton was a great example to her and her family through his everyday actions.

“You have taught us so personally about our Savior by emulating his humility, acceptance of God’s will and enduring to the end. Now it is our time to follow in your footsteps.”

While his earthly life was filled with difficult challenges, Shannon described her happiness in knowing that he is freed from his limitations and has reached his heavenly destination.

“You were our perfectly imperfect angel, and now you are our perfectly perfect angel,” she said. “I’m so happy for you Paxton. … I relish in the thought that you are running, jumping, dancing, swimming, singing, talking, sharing all that your heart has held dear. You are in the big leagues now, bud, and you are free.”

Following a musical number performed by Paxton’s cousins, David Norton, Paxton’s father, expressed his gratitude for family and friends and especially for his wife.

“Paxton is a stripling warrior,” David Norton said. “Paxton’s mother, my dear wife, taught Paxton every day, and he never doubted her. … Every day, Shannon gave her life for Paxton, whispering sweet tender words of inspiration at every moment. … You and Paxton are the epitome of courage, selflessness, sacrifice and pure love. You are both my heroes.”

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