Richard Thornton Sr.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007

Former Juneau resident Richard D. "Dick" Thornton Sr. died Oct. 15, 2007, in Everett, Wash. He was 87.

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He was born Aug. 30, 1920, in Caney, Kan., to Oliver and Laura (Beckwith) Thornton. He followed his sister after she married and moved to Monterey, Calif. He found work in the sardine cannery on Cannery Row. He married Frances Tate in September 1942. They had three children and later divorced.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed for three years in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. After his discharge, he returned to Monterey and began a career building homes.

When construction slowed, he built swimming pools for a number of motels in the area. He was a mentor to many of the up-and-coming carpenters and was credited with teaching them the trade.

In 1960, he moved to Juneau where he built homes in the Riverside Park subdivision. Later, he and Frank Meek teamed up to build many custom homes in the Juneau-Douglas area.

He loved to fish, especially in the annual derby, and was a golfer and member of the Elks and Moose lodges. He married Virginia Collum in 1962. In 1980, they moved to Whidbey Island, Wash., where he spent many hours remodeling their home, volunteering at Good Cheer and playing golf. They later moved to Everett, Wash. Virginia passed away in 1997.

He married Anna Lee Sherman in 2001. He and Anna Lee belonged to the Senior Center in Everett. Most days Thornton would engage in a friendly game of pool with his buddies.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Arthur and Clifford Thornton; sisters, Bertha Wallace and Pauline Burns; and granddaughter, Shannon Collum Ritter.

He is survived by his wife, Anna Lee, of Everett; daughter, Judy Shehorn and her husband, Jim, of Salinas, Calif.; sons, Robert Thornton, of Marina, Calif., and Richard Thornton Jr. and his wife, Marjory, of Salinas; stepsons, Robert Collum and his wife, Suzanne, of Maui, Hawaii, and Richard Collum and his wife, Carol, of Walla Walla, Wash.; stepdaughters, Cathy Collum, of Juneau, and Kathy Sherman of Seattle; stepsons, Bill and Dave Sherman, of the Seattle area; 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; brothers, Lester and Russell Thornton; and sister, Marie Bell.

Funeral services were held Oct. 22 at Cascade View Presbyterian Church in Everett.

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