From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Norris Tollefson '51

Date of birth: February 19, 1927

Date of death: May 26, 1963

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1951 Lucky Bag:


From Redlands Daily Facts of Redlands, California, on May 27, 1963:

The four-man crew of an S2F tracer plane from the aircraft carrier Kearsarge was missing and presumed dead today, the commander of Air Force Pacific Fleet said. The plane crashed during antisubmarine warfare exercises about 150 miles south of Honolulu Sunday. The crew members were Lt. Cmdr. Norris M. Tollefson of Imperial Beach, the pilot; Lt. (j.g.) Richard E. Farrington, of Saratoga, the co-pilot; PO 1/C Ernest H. Gunther, of Imperial Beach; and PO 2/C. Ray Harold Hash, of Chula Vista.

The date of the crash was May 26, 1963. He has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.


From researcher Kathy Franz:

Norris was born in Chicago and was educated at Huron High School, South Dakota, where he played the trombone in the orchestra. For two years, he attended the University of South Dakota, Vermilion, and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He received his appointment to the Naval Academy in June 1947. Two days after graduation, on June 3, he married Frances Wuebbens, the daughter of the senior chaplain at Annapolis.

He spent a year in flight training at Pensacola, after which he served in the Atlantic area. For over two years, he was an instructor in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Harvard University. Following this, he was aide-de-camp to an admiral in San Diego, 1961-1962, and served as the admiral’s personal pilot. In February 1963, he was serving with Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 21 which was part of a combined force of 20 ships engaged in Exercise Saddle Blanket.

His parents were the Rev. and Mrs. Sander Tollefson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. His brothers were Reginald and the Rev. Gordon Tollefson. He was also survived by his wife and their children Norris, Jr., Paula, and 3-week-old Carla. Frances, her brother Chaplain Everette Wuebbens of the staff at the Naval Academy, and her mother, Mrs. Everette Wuebbens, Sr., a teacher at the Naval Academy, attended the placement of Norris’ marker at Arlington Cemetery.

Related Articles

Richard Farrington '59 was also lost in this crash.

Class of 1951

Norris is one of 48 members of the Class of 1951 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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