Obituary: Norman Philip Soto, 58

Norman Philip Soto passed away peacefully at his home in Norwalk on March 1, 2017. Norman Phillip Soto was born in Stamford, Conn., on Aug. 23, 1958. Mr. Soto attended schools in Norwalk and Wilton where he resided with his family. He graduated from Wilton High School (Class of 1976) and worked as a draftsman for the Perkin Elmer Corporation in Norwalk.

Recognized as a promising artist at an early age, Norman was a five-year-old kindergarten student when his art was featured in an exhibition at Norwalk City Hall.

By the time he was a student at Wilton Middle School, Norman’s prodigious artistic accomplishments had grown to include the construction of minute and perfectly scaled models of spacecraft and landing modules of his own design, intended to meet the future needs of the U. S. space program. When word of the 12-year-old’s passionate interest in rocketry and space exploration came to the attention of NASA, Norman and his family were invited to attend an Apollo Mission launch at Cape Canaveral. NASA’s recognition led to the offer of an internship with celebrated artist Chesley Bonestell, whose paintings have long been prized by collectors and institutions like the National Air and Space Museum and the National Collection of Fine Arts. Norman accepted and spent the summer of 1975 at Bonestell’s California studio learning from the master himself.

A Connecticut exhibition of Soto’s work was in the planning stage at the time of his death.

Norman is survived by his father, industrialist and noted philanthropist John Soto and wife Gladys of Orange, Conn.; sister Gloria Gouveia of Westport, Conn.; sister Maureen Frinder and husband Robert Frinder of Clinton, Conn.; sister Jeanne M. Soto and  partner Patricia Parker of Unionville, Conn.; nieces and grandnephew; and three step-siblings.

He was predeceased by his brother, John M. Soto, and his mother, Jeanne M. Soto.

Private funeral services, arranged by Hoyt-Cognetta Funeral Home, will be held at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family would deeply appreciate that contributions be directed to Keystone House, 147 Main St., Norwalk, CT 06851.