March 2007

In Memoriam

Norma B. Ashton BS’38 died February 18, 2007. She was 89.

Norma Ashton was born on May 16, 1917, to John and Erma Wilson Berntson. Before getting her degree from the University of Utah, she was active in nearly every aspect of campus life, including AWS, Delta Gamma, Mortar Board, Owl & Key, and the Beehive Honor Society. She capped her collegiate experience as valedictorian and remained a supporter of her alma mater for the rest of her life. Ashton was a long-time board member of the Tanner Humanities Center, housed in Carlson Hall, and the building’s Norma B. Ashton Room is named in her honor.

A dedicated tennis player and golfer, it was tennis that first introduced Norma to her best friend and future husband, Marvin J. Ashton. After 10 years of tennis, his LDS mission and two college degrees between them, they married and continued to play tennis for decades.

Norma Ashton held many positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including serving on the Relief Society General Board, and supported her husband's duties and worldwide travels as a member of the Council of the Twelve.

Norma Ashton is survived by her four children and their spouses, Linda and John Ashton (executive director of the University of Utah Alumni Association), Jonne and Dale Wheadon, Steve and Wendy Ashton, Janice and Leif Sorensen, and daughter-in-law Patty Ashton; 18 grandchildren; an ever-growing number of great grandchildren; and four sisters, Phyllis McMullin, Dorothy Watkiss, Margaret Davis, and Betty Olsen. She was preceded in death by her husband.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that those so inclined make a contribution to the Marvin J. Ashton Scholarship or the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah. Online condolences may be left at

Edited from the notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune from 2/21 - 2/23/2007.

Sybil Todd, a higher education administrator of more than three decades who briefly oversaw student affairs at the University of Utah, died Feb. 13 after a nearly 10-month battle with cancer. She was 66.

Todd spent 31 years in education before resigning from her position as vice president for student affairs at the University of Alabama in 2003, when she returned to her home state of Texas and began working for a catalog company. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2006.

Todd came to UA from the University of Houston, where she was vice chancellor for advancement, to return to student affairs, a department she oversaw at the University of Utah for three years and the University of Virginia for 17 years. Todd is credited with re-organizing the UA student affairs division to better serve students. She also created the university’s dean of students office, led the effort to add on to the university recreation center, and worked toward the integration of the UA Greek system. During the last three years of her tenure, two sororities with a multicultural emphasis organized on campus.

Instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Mary Todd Palmer Endowment at West Texas A&M University or the Sybil Todd Endowment at the University of Virginia.

Edited from a story in the Tuscaloosa [Ala.] News 2/15/2007.

U-News & Views © 2007 An online publication
by the University of Utah Alumni Association
Questions? Concerns? Contact Linda Marion, editor (801-587-7837)
or Marcia Dibble, assistant editor (801-581-6996)