ROCKPORT — Dennis Norton, a longtime Rockland community leader and booster of youth sports, died Dec. 6 after being injured by a rogue wave on Hawaii.

Norton was a certified public accountant who operated a firm in Rockland for decades. He served on the local school board and was active in multiple fundraising efforts for youth sports. The most recent culminated in restoration in 2021 of the high school baseball and softball fields.

“He was always positive, always upbeat, kind and considerate,” said longtime friend Doug Curtis. “He always asked ‘what can I can do for the community?'”

Norton and his family were on vacation in Hawaii when he was injured two weeks ago when a rogue wave struck while he was on the beach, leaving him paralyzed. A GoFundMe account had been set up to help his family bring him back East but he died on Tuesday.

“His family and the community have lost so much,” Curtis said about the devoted husband, father, and grandfather.

Another friend, James Brannan, recalled that Norton arrived in Rockland when they were both in middle school. They graduated together from Rockland District High School in 1969.

Brannan recalled that Norton was always volunteering to help different organizations, particularly youth sports.

“He would be parking cars to raise money. He always gave it his all,” Brannan said.

Curtis got to know Norton when Curtis returned to Rockland in 1992. Norton, Curtis, James Raye, Kevin Fellows and Clayton Fowlie created a non-profit organization to raise money for the Rockland Fighting Tigers football team. Their effort saved the program.

“He has made an impact on the lives of many young people,” Curtis said.

Norton was elected twice to represent Rockland on the School Administrative District 5 Board (1991 and 1994).

The community rallied for Norton as well. There were donations of more than $53,000 made by 306 individuals in the short time a GoFundMe account had been posted.

Norton and his wife had lived in Rockland but moved to Rockport.