Bernard J. Thornton was born June 14, 1924, in Stockton, and was the third of six siblings born to William Harrison and Stella Cleo (Turner) Thornton.
On Friday February 7, 2020, at the age of 95, J. passed from this life to join his wife, siblings and parents in Heaven. He remained very active until the last couple of years of his life. At the time of his death, he resided at Community Springs Nursing Home, El Dorado Springs.
J. was always a hard worker and began working as a farmhand in his early teens to help support his family, working sun up to sun down for fifty cents a day. He attended about two weeks of his freshman year of high school at Bear Creek School before quitting school to go to work in order to help his family financially.
J. was known by everyone for his honesty, integrity and hard work ethic.
He met Goldie Alline Yeokum at a soda fountain in Stockton and they married on July 15, 1944.
He jokingly nick-named Goldie “Gertrude” and he called her that until her death.
J. and Goldie were married just short of 75 years when she passed away in March, 2019.
To this union three children were born. Bernard J. Thornton, Jr., Janice Lyn Carter and Sharon Elaine Kennon.
J. was a very proud World War II veteran and was fortunate to have the opportunity to go on the first Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., departing from Springfield. He served his country as an U.S. Army medic in the European theater. He was attached to the unit that liberated the Moosburg, Germany, Prisoner of War Camp and the Mauthausen, Austria, Concentration Camp. In his later years he began to open up about the horrible atrocities that he had been witness to.
When he returned to the United States after his military service, he welcomed his new son B. J., Jr., and began farming again. He later worked helping to build the Stockton Dam. Soon after, he became a carpenter, started his own business and built many new homes around the Stockton and El Dorado Springs area.
J. and Goldie were known around the county for their dancing skills. J. could call a square dance and “hit a hot lick” with the best of them. They went dancing every Saturday night until they were in their nineties. That is probably what kept them “young” into old age. His home was always open for friends and family and he loved having everyone there. He was a father figure for many kids throughout the years.
J. found the Lord in December of 2019 and a great peace seemed to follow.
Survivors include his three children; Bernard J. Thornton, Jr.. and wife Linda of Manchester, Michigan, Janice Carter and Sharon Kennon of El Dorado Springs; eight grandchildren, to whom he was lovingly known as Boppie; thirteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson; host of nieces, nephews and friends.
J. is preceded in death by his wife Goldie; his parents Will and Cleo; all of his siblings; Hubert, Juanita Hare, Herman, Glen and Billie Thornton; and two sons-in-law, Dennis Kennon and Allen Carter.
His smiling face and love for telling jokes will be missed by all who knew him.
Visitation will be at 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb 13., with funeral services at 4 p.m., at Bland-Brumback Funeral Home, Stockton. Reverend Brent Bland will be officiating the services.
Interment will be in the Stockton City Cemetery with full military honors.