William H. Thornton, age 97, of Topeka, formerly of Garnett, Kansas, passed away on Monday, July 8, 2019, at Brewster Place in Topeka, Kansas.
Bill was born on January 1, 1922, in Madison, Kansas, the son of William Ambrose and Martha Margaret "Maggie" (Crowell) Thornton. Their family was active in the First Christian Church there, and he was baptized at the age of 9 years old. He attended Madison High School, graduating in 1939.
Following high school Bill worked with his dad on the family farm, and took over this responsibility when his dad passed away suddenly in 1941. When many of his peers were going off to war, he was granted a deferment to stay home and run the farm. He always had mixed feelings about that throughout the rest of his lifetime.
Bill was united in marriage to Lola F. Phillips on May 25, 1947 in Madison, Kansas. This union was blessed with two sons, William H. and Tony R. Thornton.
Bill was a farmer during the early years of their marriage. He loved caring for his livestock, and won many ribbons for showing his dairy cattle at the county and state fairs. Then he went on to work for Farmland Industries (CO-OP). There he worked as a retail salesman in Yates Center, Pleasanton and Greeley and later as a grain elevator operator in Garnett until retiring in 1984 after 25 years of service.
Bill was an active member of First Christian Church in Garnett for about 50 years. During this time he served as a Deacon, and then as an Elder. He loved to study and teach the Bible serving as a Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader for many years. His faith was also expressed through the visits that he and Lola made on numerous folks who were in nursing homes or shut-in, often bringing along fresh produce from their garden to share with the very grateful recipients.
His love of animals found expression in his later years through a small herd of llamas that received his daily care and attention. Often his mornings and evenings would be spent tending to these four legged friends.
In July of 2012, he and Lola moved to Brewster Place Retirement Village in Topeka, KS. While in Topeka, Kansas, they have been involved with the Walnut View Christian Church where his son, Tony, is the minister.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Lola, on February 14, 2018; his parents; his brother, Vernon Thornton and wife, Lucinda; and his sister, Lucy Redding and husband, Wendell.
Bill is survived by his two sons, William H. Thornton and wife Marcia of Lincoln, Nebraska; Tony R. Thornton and wife Camille of Topeka, Kansas; seven grandchildren, Tami Thornton, Jenny Arnold and husband John, Mark Thornton, and Matt Thornton, all of Lincoln, Nebraska; Ryan Thornton of Kansas City, Missouri, Morgan Fisher and husband Dustin of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Brittney Guzman and husband Alberto of Mission, Texas; 12 great grandchildren; one sister-in-law, Frances Hays of Osawatomie, Kansas; one brother-in-law, Robert Phillips and wife Beverly of Lawrence, Kansas. In addition, he leaves numerous other family and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at the First Christian Church in Garnett, Kansas. Burial will follow at Garnett Cemetery. Family will greet friends from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on the evening of Friday, July 19, 2019, at the Feuerborn Family Funeral Service Chapel in Garnett. Memorial contributions may be made to Jacob's Well - Haiti and left in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.feuerbornfuneral.com