Candice Rachelle Defrancis Norton
February 05, 1978 - September 07, 2020
Journalist with a Servant’s Heart, Dead at 42
Parker County mourns the loss of Candice Brown Defrancis Norton, 42, of Weatherford, where she worked as a journalist. Candice was a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She valued her faith as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She cared deeply about others, so much so that she spent two years working full-time in a Bible educational work after graduating high school.
Candice passed away of natural causes on Monday, September 7, 2020 at Medical City Weatherford.
Candice was born in Fort Worth on February 5, 1978, to Mark and Denise Brown. They moved to Weatherford when she was seven.
From the beginning, her friends and family members knew her simply as, “Candy.”
Kristal Watts-Reyna was Candy’s best friend from the time they were babies. “I can't remember a time before Candy was in my life. We were always together... side by side. Candy and Kristal were a package deal. Even if you didn't want both of us... you were getting both of us. Candy was a social butterfly and knew everybody and everybody loved her and wanted to be around her. We recently admitted to each other that we had always secretly wanted to be more like the other one. I thought she was crazy though because she was damn near perfect the way she was. She was charismatic and was so much fun. She was loving, charming and affectionate. It made you feel good just to be around her. I was always the quiet and shy one. Even though we were so different, looking back I know that it worked so well because Candy gave me the support and encouragement I needed to be more outgoing and confident. She was honestly my first true love. My parents used to tease me that I would probably marry Candy if I could... and I probably would have if I could have gotten away with it. To me she was the perfect partner to face life with. But instead we liked us some boys and she left a trail of broken hearts!”
Kristal continued, “Together, we learned several valuable lessons such as turkey sandwiches were so much better with Doritos on them, that we could get in several laps around the lobby at the District Conventions during breaks, that Wham! was one of the all-time best music groups, and that we could watch the same movies over and over and love them each and every time as long as we were together. She taught me about true friendship and what it really means to have somebody's back. Candy was truly my person and made my life so much better. I will miss her dearly.”
Candice was a vibrant, warm spirit and constantly encircled by people who loved her. It was sadly ironic, that in the end, she could not be surrounded by her family members or friends because of COVID-19, but thankfully her husband Garrett managed to be at her side as her life faded away.
Her last words to her mother were sent via text, “Please take care of Garrett.” Even in her last moments, Candy’s focus was not on herself, but rather used to look out for someone she loved.
“I loved so many things about Candy,” her dear friend Karis Pasley said. “She saw me through every major event in my adult life. She would show up with light, laughter, imagination, beauty, and her whole heart. The void is real, she left this world way too soon.”
She impacted lives, stood up for people she barely knew, and she lit up every room she ever walked into.
Another friend, Amy Watts said, “My Dad was very picky about our friends - but loved Candy. My Dad told me when he met Candy - he could tell - she’s good- she’s got a pure, good heart. I like her. She was the only friend my Dad ever truly loved.”
She was an enthusiastic volunteer and fundraiser for The Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter, The Parker County Committee on Aging, and Careity Foundation.
“Candice will be sorely missed at Careity events,” said Lyn Walsh, the charity’s co-founder. “She was such a special volunteer. She was the perfect person to have as the first one who people interacted with during the evening.”
Careity Co-founder Beverly Branch added, “Her sweet spirit really helped set the tone of how helpful the volunteers were going to be and how much they cared about the guests. We were already aware of her pleasant personality when we attended Parker County Today events and so when we found out that she was interested in helping at Careity events we jumped at the chance. Our hearts go out to her family members, many of whom we know and love.”
It was while volunteering at a charitable event that she met her future husband, Garrett Norton.
He said later that it was, “love at first sight.” He even helped her take out the garbage, cleaning up at the close of the event that night.
Garrett and Candy were married on June 20, 2020 in a small civil ceremony at the historic Parker County Courthouse in the same courtroom where her great-grandparents had been married over a century earlier. The story went that they climbed up the bell tower and wrote their initials on the wall. It was a story Candice always loved.
Garrett and Candice shared a special love of animals, and she was known to go to PetSmart on adoption day and look for the perfect dog or cat for her parents, friends or her aunt and uncle.
She took extra special care of Leo, an elderly, fragile, blind Yorkie that Garrett adopted from the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter. She loved and nurtured him.
“The adjectives I would use to describe her are: loving generous, fully invested in her friends and family, refreshingly childlike in her joy, and having an undaunted spirit,” said novelist and lawyer Laurie Moore. “She could be unexpectedly funny. Her outer beauty — which goes unchallenged — was only eclipsed by her inner beauty."
Co-worker Tristan Evans said, “Candy had a servant’s heart — she was always happy to give. You don’t find that in many people.”
She never lost touch with her longtime friends. “I loved so many things about Candy,” Karis Pasley, a close friend since she was 15. “She saw me through every major event in my adult life. She would show up with light, laughter, imagination, beauty, and her whole heart.
Candy loved Parker County, loved her job at Parker County Today magazine and was a delight to work with.
She covered a number of trials in both Parker County District Courts. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain was used to answering her questions.
“Candice was kind-hearted and funny, with a bright, inquisitive mind,” he recalled. “Her curiosity served her well in journalism, which she approached from the perspective that if she wanted to know, so would her readers. Her courtroom writing was impartial, covering all perspectives. She was an absolute pleasure to work with and she will be missed by so many.”
She found criminal cases most intriguing, but finance was also a captivating subject to her. “On a busy day, doing 10 things at one time, Candice would come to my office bringing me more work,” said Drew Springer, of Springer Investments. “She would light up the room as she sat down. I would stop everything to visit with Candice. Sometimes, I was father advisor, sometimes she would listen to the jokes I was going to use as a Master of Ceremonies that night. After about 30 minutes, Marsha would call to break us up and tell her to come back to work. Candice was a joy to be around. I will miss our little talks.”
Of Candy, photographer Megan Parks said, “Candy will forever be the one person whose light shined so clear and bright. She was an incredible woman with such caring for others… God truly shined through her, and she will always be with me... She was an example of what I always wanted to be, a lady.”
Eric Wood recalls the more mischievous side of Candice. “I’ve known Candice since she was a child,” Wood said. “As we got re-acquainted as adults, we became friends. As friends do, we started giving each other a hard time…She started taking my cowboy hat and hiding it in the office when I wasn’t looking… nearly every day. And after she moved my hat, she would take one of the old hats off of the wall and put it where my hat had been. The first time it happened, I looked around at everyone in the office and the only one watching me was her, with a big smile on her face... So I knew it was her that moved it. I remember the big smile face on her face and the big kick she got out of it.”
Candice loved harmony. Said Misty Browning former associate publisher for Parker County Today, “Candy was a true peacemaker in every way imaginable. Her kind heart and loving nature made every person around her feel appreciated and welcomed. I loved her like a sister and will miss her laugh and smile.”
Kathy Jones said, “Candy brought joy with her wherever she was. She always had a big smile to brighten the room and an even bigger hug for all of her friends. She was an absolute delight to spend time with. I feel so blessed to have known her.”
A few weeks after her wedding, Candice suffered from a pulmonary aneurysm. After weeks of fighting for her life and stints on a ventilator, Candice slipped away.
Candice is survived by her husband, Garrett Norton, her son Cole Defrancis, her parents Mark and Denise Brown, her brother Jonathan Brown, step-daughter, Ginesis Norton, and her maternal grandparents Fred and Darlene Peebles, of Weatherford.
A virtual funeral service is now in the planning stages. Garrett hopes all who loved Candy will join him and their family and friends for lunch and a Celebration of Candy’s Life at Baker’s Ribs, Candy’s favorite barbeque restaurant at 1921 South Main Street, Weatherford, Texas 76086. The festivities will begin at noon on September 19, 2020. Please bring your favorite photos and your best stories of Candice and share them with us.