Sunday, July 21, 2024

Joseph William Thornton

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Joseph William Thornton, 85 of Apex, NC passed away on June 18, 2024.

Joseph (Joe) was born on Jan. 24, 1939 in Buffalo, NY to the late Joseph and Frances (Schmidt) Thornton. Joe graduated from Seneca Vocational High School in 1957 and went on to serve in the US Navy for three years (1957-1960). When he returned, in September of 1961 he married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Kathleen Johnson. Together, they raised their family in Arkwright, NY in a lovely home overlooking Lake Erie that Joe designed and built with his own hands. As if building his own home and raising four children wasn’t enough, Joe was also employed as a Trooper with the NYS Police. After 30 years, he ended his public service career as a Detective with the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

In his retirement years, with the exception of Joe’s monthly lunches with retired Trooper friends, his faithful yellow lab, Max, accompanied Joe everywhere. Joe continued to enjoy carpentry work; among his many projects, he purchased an old sail boat that he took great pride in beautifully restoring and sailing on Lake Erie in Dunkirk, NY. He spent many happy days tinkering on the boat and making friends at the Dunkirk Yacht Club. With sharp mind, he would happily engage in long conversations with anyone, on any topic. And with sharp wit, he was always ready with a pun, joke or euphemism. As a carpentry enthusiast, the family was routinely treated to his favorite, “Oh, I see,” said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.”

In addition to Joe’s parents, he is preceded in death (2018) by his wife, Kathleen Thornton. Joe is survived by his four children, Joseph Thornton (Jeannine), Karen Thornton Odell, Brian Thornton (Wendy), and Michael Thornton; his grandchildren, Alexandria (Eric) Lutley, Joseph Thornton, Mitchell (Julie) Thornton, Matthew Odell, Tim Odell, Sean Thornton, Nick Thornton, Michael Thornton, and Owen Thornton; four great-grandchildren, Joseph and Omar Thornton and Louisa and Julian Lutley; in-laws Judith and Albert DeMyer and nephew and niece Kenneth DeMyer and Amy (Pat) Roberts.

The family will have a private memorial gathering at a later date to celebrate the lives of their beloved Joseph and Kathleen.

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