Virginia “Vini” Norris Exton passed away at home on September 29th, 2021 from cholangiocarcinoma. She died as she lived, surrounded by loved ones, gracious and hilarious to the end.

Vini was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 10, 1949 to Barbara Coffin and Howard Everett “Squirrel” Norris. The eldest of three daughters, she attended the Chaffee School in Windsor, CT, graduating in 1967, then Skidmore College in 1971 with her BA in English. She received her MA in English from Stanford University in 1972.

Vini taught in Palo Alto, CA from 1972-74, then settled in Lander, Wyoming as a student at the National Outdoor Leadership School. She went on to become a NOLS Instructor from 1975-1983, then NOLS Director of Curriculum from 1977-1979. Working for NOLS led her to Driggs, Idaho, the Tetons and love. In 1978 she married Bill Scott and spent 10 adventurous years together.

Vini started Main Street Case Company where she designed and constructed hand-sewn musical instrument cases and other custom cases. In 1983 Vini worked for Teton School District as Director of Migrant Education and ESL teacher. In 1989 she taught at Teton High School as an English teacher and Drama Coach. In 1990 the Teton Valley News recognized Vini as Person of the Year. Ever the athlete, Vini had an impressive list of accomplishments in the road bike racing world, placing 10th in the first ever Women’s National Stage Race in ID in 1984, with the distinction of being the oldest racer.

As a member of the Snake River Cycling Club, she was a force to be reckoned with in time trial races and criteriums in Idaho and Jackson, WY. Her impressive bike leg times were instrumental in her Women's Racing Team winning 4 consecutive years in the Pole Pedal Paddle race in Jackson in the 1980's, a record never beaten to this day.

In 1993, Vini and Brad Exton were married, bringing her the joy of parenthood as the bonus mom to Brad’s children, Josh and Bailey.

In 1996 they moved to Vernal, Utah. Vini taught at Uintah High School as well as Utah State University. In 2002 Utah State granted her Researcher of the Year. In 2005 she was recognized as Utah State University Continuing Education Instructor of the Year. After 6 years of dedicated work she achieved the status of Dr. Exton, Ed.D in English in 2008.

In 2009 Vini was again acknowledged by Utah State University with an Innovative Practices Award. Vini retired in 2017, and in 2019, while visiting friends she discovered the Cool Creek Cooperative Neighborhood in the village of Mesa, Colorado. She jumped at the chance to settle in a shared community and build her home on the Grand Mesa.

After her diagnosis in November of 2020, she gardened, hiked, skied, and paddled, and was determined to see all four seasons in her new home. Ten weeks before her death she did a two week Grand Canyon raft trip.

She often said that nature, friends, and family sustained her through the difficult times of her illness. Along with Hospice care, she was lovingly cared for by her “Wolf Pack”, a small group of devoted friends who stayed by her side to the end.

She leaves behind a rainbow of friends, family, students, and colleagues that will forever be inspired by her legacy of life long learning and enjoyment. Vini is preceded in death by her parents, Barbara Coffin Norris and Howard Everett Norris, and by her younger sister, Emily Norris. She is survived by her youngest sister, Dorothy “Dedo” (Jim) Norris, son, Josh (Marie) Merrill-Exton, daughter, Bailey (AJ) Exton, and her grandchildren, Sage and Willow Merrill-Exton and Taygen and Dalton Reitz.

Celebrations of Vini’s life are planned for spring 2022 in Mesa, Colorado and in Teton Valley. Memorial Contributions can be made to: NOLS Scholarship Foundation at: https://nols.edu/en/portal/alumni/giving/ Loomis Chaffee - Norris Teaching Environment Fund at - https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/21129/donations/new

Virginia 'Vini' (Norris) Exton 05/10/1949 - 09/29/2021