John Z. Norris, III, died peacefully in his home and surrounded by family on February 22, 2023, after a battle with cancer. He was 85 years old. A Baton Rouge resident for 50 years, John was born in the midst of the Great Depression in a wooden shack along railroad tracks in East Texas on December 2, 1937, to a poor but loving family who taught him to work hard and live frugally, lessons he carried with him. His whole life, John remembered the coal-fired train engine’s smoke that smelled like scrambled eggs.
John worked his way through college with a part-time job at an insurance agency in Mercedes, Texas, gaining his BBS from Pan American College in Edinburg, TX, in 1963. He joined Continental Insurance Company of New York in Dallas and was sent to Baton Rouge in 1965, where he met and married his wife Catherine Saucier. He was sent soon after to Oklahoma, where he and Cathy lived for several years, in both Pryor and Oklahoma City. In 1973, they returned to Baton Rouge with their two children, Amanda Kaye Norris (now in Houston) and James Michael Norris (now in Mandeville).
John opened his first business, Norris Insurance Agency, in 1975, and sold it to Roberts and Eastland in 1987. He then opened a new property-casualty insurance consulting firm. His first clients were the City of Zachary and the Louisiana Association of Clerks of Court. Starting with Iberia Parish School Board, John eventually handled ten school boards, all in Louisiana. When John sold the firm to his colleague, Carmel Breaux of Lockport, LA, it was the largest school board property-liability consulting firm in Louisiana.
John loved and was forever faithful to his beautiful wife during nearly 60 years of marriage. He loved, supported, and very much admired his two children. John leaves behind two grandsons, Samuel Norris Ellis and James Louis Ellis, who have enjoyed many of John’s stories about life and Louisiana. John was preceded in death by his mother, Roxene Morris, his stepfather, Pluto Morris, and his beloved brother, James “Jim” Norris. John also leaves behind two much admired sons-in-law, William Ellis (Houston) and Bruce Steinberg (Mandeville).