Michael John Thornton, age 96, died at his Folsom, California home on May 30, 2019 of natural causes. Mr. Thornton was a long time Brookings, Oregon, resident and member of the Star of the Sea Parish. He was born on Oct. 31, 1922 in Le Center, Minnesota, to Michael and Mary Thornton. He served in the Coast Guard in World War II and served in combat zones. He attended Saint Thomas College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and received his B.A. degree there in English. After that, he attended the University of Michigan where he received a Master’s in English and won the prestigious Hopwood Award. He moved to California to follow the woman who would eventually become his wife, Patricia Madden. In California, he taught English at Cloverdale High School and he later taught English at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo County for over 20 years. He retired from teaching in the 1980s.

He married Patricia Madden on June 16, 1956 in San Francisco, California, and they had their first child, Mary, on May 16, 1957. They had their second child Michael on March 31, 1959. They lived in Belmont, California, for many years on Solana Drive. In 1965 he took a year-long sabbatical and he and his family lived in England for a year while he wrote a book called Napoleon After Waterloo that was published by Stanford University Press. He was a prolific writer and had many articles published in newspapers and magazines. In the late 1980s he and his wife moved to Brookings and built a home there. Patricia Thornton passed away there in 1996. Mr. Thornton eventually moved to Folsom, California, to be closer to his children.

He is survived by his daughter Mary Hansen, his son Michael Thornton, his sister Jacqueline McCall and his grandchildren Kent Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Matthew Sorgenfrei and Michael Sorgenfrei. There will be a Mass said for him at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Brookings on June 21, 2019 beginning at 10 am and that will be followed by a Memorial Service on the church grounds. He will be buried in a ceremony at 1 pm on June 21 at the William James Ward Memorial Cemetery in Brookings.


— Submitted by the famaily


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