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Posted: January 28, 2014

Ohio man's obit: Norris 'Knarly Butt' Bourdow loved sailing, family and his Gloworm


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            Ohio man's obit: Norris 'Knarly Butt' Bourdow loved sailing, family and his Gloworm
Norris “Knarly Butt” Bourdow

By Amelia Robinson

Cox Media Group Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio —

New rule: you are required to have an engaging personality if your nickname is going to be “Knarly Butt.”

Personality and a caring heart is exactly what Marlilyn Bourdow says her late husband, Norris “Knarly Butt” Bourdow, had. He died Friday at age 72.

Here is what she said about him via email:

“He was a people person who never met a stranger. He was also very caring and compassionate. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. He took care of me in so many ways — not financially, but in all other ways. He was my biggest supporter, sometimes obnoxiously so. And he LOVED sailing. He was born in Saginaw, Michigan and his family had a cottage at a lake, so he was around water from a very early age. He started sailing a lot over 40 years ago. He has always sailed a Highlander sailboat, which is a three person boat (no motor). The Highlanders (Class International Association) meet several times a year at different lakes for regattas where they race each other. We were, in fact, married at the Indy 5 regatta at Guist Lake in Indianapolis. It was the first Highlander wedding and I think the last. We got married between cocktails and dinner. We dated for nine years before we got married. I was 52 at the time and he was 57.”

Knarly Butt’s obituary appears in Monday’s Dayton Daily News.

Click here to read it.

His colorful nickname nearly jumped off the page.

Marlilyn Bourdow says she doesn’t know exactly how he got it.

“He had the name when I met him,” she wrote. “I believe it was probably because the crazy sailors would moon each other as they passed each other and he got the name that way.”

He not only had an interesting name, he helped get the woman that would be his wife one as well.

“When we were dating, he took me to his favorite bartender and when he introduced me to her, she said, ‘you look just like a little Gloworm,’ so Knarly started calling me that and telling his friends that was my name. So we were Knarly Butt and Gloworm,” Marilyn recalled.

She said her husband did all he could to pass his love of sailing on to his four children.

His son Steve Bourdow won a silver medal in the1992 Olympics for sailing in Barcelona.

“Norris went over there and had a wonderful time,” Marilyn wrote. He struck up a conversation with some fellow who was out washing his big boat. When he introduced himself, the fellow told Norris he was the Prince of Spain and Norris says, ‘yeah and I’m the President of the United States.’ But it really was the prince and he invited Norris to a party on his boat that night. Norris had a lot of tales to tell, and there was never a dull moment when he was around.”

“There will be a lot of ‘Knarly Butt’ stories told at his funeral, I’m sure,” Marilyn said. “We are going to take his boat to the funeral home and park it out front. Norris was never far from his boat — No. 450. He wanted to be cremated, so we are following his wishes. This summer, we will take his ashes to Indian Lake or to the ocean and sprinkle some there. I will keep the rest and have them buried with me.”

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