Life of celebrated Bunbury war veteran and centenarian Norm Eaton remembered by family and friends

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Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
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Picture: Jon Gellweiler
Camera IconPicture: Jon Gellweiler Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Jon Gellweiler

An inspirational centenarian and World War II veteran, to whom “family and service were everything” has been celebrated this week by his big family and the Bunbury community.

Richard “Norm” Eaton died on Saturday night, with family by his side. He was 101 years old.

The son of a school headmistress and a serviceman, the Goomalling-born veteran worked on farms before moving to Perth in the 1930s and enlisting to serve.

Mr Eaton and his brother Harry served with the 2/11th West Australian battalion in North Africa and Greece during World War II.

WW2 POW Norm Eaton is Bunbury RSL Club's oldest member.
Camera IconWW2 POW Norm Eaton is Bunbury RSL Club's oldest member. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

His nephew, Kevin Eaton described a man who loved to tell a story, was great at it, and had plenty to share.

“I would go to see his place and he was like a second father to me in a lot of ways, we were always close and I would go and have a yarn with him.

“He always remembered things and he could tell a story, he could tell a story very, very well.

“The amazing thing was he never had to make them up, they were all fact and they were just from his life experiences.

“When there were people around, it was like an adrenaline shot for him, because he was a people person and he loved to have them around. He would have us in fits of laughter.”

Mr Eaton was a POW and spent four years at prison camps throughout Europe.

After returning home, he joined the Bunbury RSL and after a five-year stint as president, was awarded a life membership.

Norm Eaton celebrates his 101st birthday.
Camera IconNorm Eaton celebrates his 101st birthday. Credit: David Bailey

Mr Eaton and his wife Jean had 10 children — who gave him 26 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren.

“In a nutshell, family was everything to Uncle Norm,” Kevin said.

“That is not just his immediate family, his brothers and sisters, but his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren.

“He always had that ability to inspire people, and he inspired me.”

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