Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Alan (Al) W. Norton McGonnigal,, USAF (Retired)
December 12, 1940 – November 20, 2017
Alan “Al” W. Norton-McGonnigal died on November 20, 2017, at home, at the age of 76, surrounded by his loving family and his two devoted dogs. He was born December 12, 1940, in Weymouth, Mass., the son of Thomas and Marion (Sweet) McGonnigal.
Alan grew up in Hull, Mass., a small peninsula town on the South Shore of Boston, surrounded by the coastal waters he loved so much. Hull always occupied a special place in his heart. In his early teens his family relocated to Quincy, Mass.
He graduated from Quincy High School in 1958 at the age of 17 and with his parents’ consent, immediately enlisted in the Air Force. In 1961 he became an Air Force Pararescueman, or “PJ”, after going thru the demanding selection process and completing the arduous two-year course known informally as “Superman School”. He was also qualified as a paramedic, Emergency Room Triage and Charge Nurse, Physician Assistant and as well received his RN degree based on his Air Force education and experience. He was stationed at numerous bases in the U.S. and overseas including two assignments in Germany attached to the German Air Force, which were his and his family’s favorite. In 1969 he volunteered to go to Vietnam and near the end of his tour while on a rescue mission his helicopter was shot down and he broke his neck in the crash. Amazingly he recovered, returning to the U.S. continuing his medical career, retiring from the Air Force in 1978.
He moved back to Massachusetts and pursued a number of private sector interests, meeting the love of his life Lillian Norton in 1982. They were married in 1983 and moved to Sunapee, N.H., in 1986 where they ran a bed and breakfast for 7 years. During that time Alan was also a physician assistant at a small hospital in Newport, N.H. They sold the B&B in 1992 and moved to Bradford, N.H., after which Alan owned a deli, was an 911 operator in Concord, and manager of the Concord Area Meals On Wheels Program at Community Action Program, from which he retired in 2010.
He was an avid history buff, enjoyed lively political discussions, loved photography, cooking, camping, was an expert shooter and knowledgeable collector of firearms. He was loyal, passionate, straight forward and had a great sense of humor. He loved his wife, loved his family and friends and he loved his country. He was a good man, loved by many and will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his wife, Lillian Norton-McGonnigal of Bradford; his children, Anne-Marie McGonnigal of Bronxville, N.Y., and Paul McGonnigal of Portland Maine; his sister, Helen Schrier of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and many loving nieces and nephews and their respective families. Alan was predeceased by his parents, Thomas and Marion McGonnigal, his sisters, Margaret “Peggy” Hassan, Janet Boone, Susan McGonnigal and his brother Thomas McGonnigal.
A full military honor service will be held in the spring. To sign an online guest book, please visit www.chadwickfuneralservice.com.
Published by The Patriot Ledger on Dec. 7, 2017.
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