Born Sept. 28, 1930, son of the late Joseph Ralph and Clara Babbs Thornton, he was a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Korean Era and a truck driver. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Gideon and a member of the Masonic Lodge.
On Aug. 3, 1949, in Piggott, Ark., he married Frances McGinley, who survives.
Survivors also include two daughters, Paulette Thornton, of Flint, Mich., and Jonnie Nelson, of Gideon; two sisters, Mary Jo Tolbert, of Gideon and Glenda George, of Braggadocio, Mo.; one brother, Harold Joe Thornton, of St. Louis, Mo.; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by one son, Jackie Lee Thornton.
Visitation will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the Bradshaw Funeral Home in Gideon.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the First Baptist Church in Gideon with the Revs. Kelly Reed and Gene Lancaster officiating.
Burial with military rites will follow at the Stanfield Cemetery in Clarkton.