Norman Thrower

1919 - 2020

Norman Thrower

Norman Joseph William Thrower died at the age of 100 on September 2, 2020. An avid traveler, Thrower started his career working for the Survey of India as a cartographer during WWII. Later, Thrower was a geography professor at UCLA from 1957 to 1990 where he specialized in cartography, remote sensing, and Europe.

Born in 1919 in Crowthorne, England, Thrower was attending art school at Reading University when WWII broke out. After joining the British army, his unit was stationed in India where he was able to use his art training to become a cartographer for the Survey of India. Following the war and his subsequent marriage to his wife Betty, Thrower moved to the U.S. where he received a B.A. in geography from University of Virginia. In 1958, he received his PhD in geography from University of Wisconsin and went on to teach at UCLA.

Thrower authored several books during his career including, Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society, which is currently in its 4th edition. He was also the first president of the California Map Society and was appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan to the Sir Frances Drake Commission which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. The AAG awarded Thrower with Lifetime Achievement Honors in 1998.