NORTH FORK – Two couples with deep roots in the local logging industry have been chosen to serve as Grand Marshals for the 59th annual Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree.
Jon and Judi Norby, and Patrick Emmert and Susan Waters have been selected for the honor by the North Fork Boosters, who will host the popular event the weekend of July 7 & 8 at the North Fork Rec Center.
The Norby name has long been associated with the logging and lumbering business. Jon Norby is a 3rd generation logger following in the footsteps of his father, Ed, and his father before him. Jack Norby came to this area in 1922 as construction superintendent for the Sugar Pine Lumber Co. When the company disbanded in the depression era of the 30’s, his grandpa purchased a section of timber land, now known as Central Camp up above North Fork.
During WWII, his dad, Ed Norby, joined the Navy and ran a sawmill for the Seabees in the Philippines. After the war, he built a sawmill in Central Camp and it became Norby Lumber Company. Norby Lumber began logging for American Box in Oakhurst located where Von’s is now in 1953. They logged for them until the mid seventies.
Jon attended Humboldt State and graduated with a degree in Forest Management. While there, he met his wife, Judi on a blind date. She’s kept him around for 48 years now. (I’m thinking loggers wives are a tough breed!)
He started his own logging operation in June of 1970. In 1972, he joined his Dad in business, Norby Lumber Co., Inc., operated in Central California and as far south as Lake Arrowhead. They, along with Jon’s two brothers and his sister, became sawmill owners with the purchase of Yancey Lumber Mill in Madera on Avenue 12. They were forced to close in 1995 due to the Spotted Owl issue.
Jon has served the community as a school board member and was instrumental in creating Minarets High School. You also will see him behind the grill flipping pancakes at the Lions Club Pancake Breakfasts. He will proudly tell you that he’s been a member of the club since 1974. And on Loggers Jamboree weekend, he is the man behind the mic at the pro-am contest on Saturday mornings and at the parade in the afternoon.
Jon and Judi have one son, Jeremy and his wife, Cher, and three grandsons – Nik, 14, Trent 11, and Jake 7. They are the joys of their lives. Jeremy graduated from Oregon State as a Forest Engineer following in the exact footsteps of his great grandfather, Jack. Jack actually engineered the trestles and tracks for the Sugar Pine Lumber Co. and even invented the Norby Track Layer. Jeremy has now become the 4th generation Norby to make the timber industry his passion and livelihood.
During Jon’s career he served as President of the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, President of the California Forest Products Commission and several years as Chapter Chairman of the Associated California Loggers. He was also active in the Home Rule Movement in Madera County along with many others from our community.
Jon and Judi have worked side by side promoting the timber industry over the years. Judi spent many hours in classrooms all over the valley with Trees are For People, now Talk about Trees. She assisted her sister-in-law, Sandy Norby McDougald in teaching students all about the process of harvesting the trees and getting them to the sawmill and eventually into products that we all use every day.
Jon and Judi have both spent time in Washington, D.C. and at the State Capitol lobbying and attempting to educate our legislatures on what actually happens in the woods. Judi was a member of California Women in Timber until she retired from those endeavors in 1995. She has participated in our local Squirrel Cage Theatre in many capacities, helped with the North Fork Car Show at the Rec Center while it was still active, chaired the Queen Contestants years ago and has more recently been a judge for the Jamboree parade. Both she and Jon are active in their church, Calvary Chapel of the Sierra, located by Bass Fork.
Together, Jon and Judi say of being chosen as Co-Grand Marshall’s for this year’s Jamboree, “It’s been a privilege and a blessing to work with those in this community who have persevered in keeping our Jamboree alive and thriving. Our forests certainly deserve to be managed well—the battle still continues. It’s never too late to GET INVOLVED!
Both Patrick and Susan have enjoyed a life-time of working and living within the Forest Products Industry.
Patrick’s first job in the industry occurred in 1968, working at the North Fork Sawmill and meeting Elaine Fink for the first time. Thereafter, work continued with Albie Gaylord (Dinuba Logging), and the USFS during college.
After graduating from Humboldt State, work was secured with Wickes, SFI, Sierra Forest Products, and then SCE Forestry at Shaver Lake.
Volunteering to announce at the North Fork and Shaver Lake Jamborees has been a lot of fun for quite a few years, says Patrick.
Susan, the late Mike Waters, and Mike Waters Jr., operated Mike Waters Logging, Inc. from 1971 to 2001 with many an employee from North Fork, Auberry and Shaver Lake. Their business involved logging, biomass chipping, trucking, and a NAPA Auto Parts business. Now, Susan continues her employment with NAPA as a bookkeeper.