With very heavy hearts, we announce the passing from this life of a beloved son of Roanoke, Randolph County, Alabama, Mr. Lonnie Clyde Thornton, 80, lovingly remembered as "LC" a resident of Stone Mountain, GA. Mr. Thornton transitioned from this life on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice, Akron, OH.
Lonnie Thornton -- a beloved son of Roanoke, Randolph County, Alabama -- came full circle -- from the day of his birth September 1, 1941, until the day he embarked on his final journey home on December 9, 2021.
He was born in Rock Mills, Randolph County, Alabama, one of ten children of the late Lillie Mae and King George Thornton. Elder siblings Calvin and Maggie preceded him to their home in eternity. Lonnie was raised in a loving home where faith and family love governed all things. The Wehadkee Missionary Baptist Church -- the family fortress, was a regular destination for the Thorntons. He attended elementary school at Rock Mills and high school at Randolph County Training School (both historic Rosenwald Schools), graduating in 1958. Throughout his life, he never met a stranger and would often form bonds with the less fortunate in society.
Affectionately known to all as "L. C." and also known by his self-assigned nickname, "Mr. Zeke" (the origins of which he took with him to eternity), he possessed a charming and honest personality, basing all his life decisions on the time required, and how important a thing was from HIS OWN perspective. No stranger to hard work, ultimately his diverse experiences would carry him all the way from Rock Mills and Roanoke, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia; San Antonio Texas; and Anchorage, Alaska. After completing a tour of duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Air Force), he devoted many years to the municipality of Anchorage where he served as General Foreman and Acting Division Manager until retiring in 1995.
In 1970, L.C. married the former Frances Cannon with whom he shared fifty-one years.
Highly intellectual, L.C. possessed clarity of thought and introspective behavior. A lover of nature, his best friend was a Canon EOS, his trusted companion wherever his travels took him.
During those rare moments of freedom from the demands of work or duty, he found his happy place in a challenging game of chess, or photographing nature, fishing, traveling, and writing; and in later years, the Hammond B-3 organ. For many years, he was a member of the Stone Mountain Civic Association. Of his years in Anchorage, he once wrote "I resided in Anchorage Alaska for 30 years where the fish was the greatest!" Following in his father’s footsteps, he coached baseball while he lived in Anchorage.
By 2005, when he took on a major role in the founding and production of the People's Voice, our area's first black weekly newspaper publication... AND assumed a more prominent role in the annual Randolph County Training School (RCTS) All-Class Reunions, L.C.'s love for family, local history, and writing, would transform him into a prominent influencer and thought-leader both within and beyond our community's reach. It was at this point that many of us discovered his enjoyment of debating about a myriad of topics -- especially politics, history, culture, and education.
Those of us who knew and loved him best, believe that for him, his greatest accomplishment involved working alongside three of his siblings, Alvin, Gene, and Earnestine, to successfully co-produce the highly praised historical DVD and book, tracing the interesting history of The Randolph County Training School (RCTS) – the Rosenwald School attended by Randolph County’s African American students during the period of segregation predominantly. Lonnie took great pride in capturing the unique history of RCTS and his Thornton and Baker family reunions through pictures and videos. They are now an invaluable source of information. He was a founding member of the RCTS Scholarship Foundation which, since 2005, has awarded 80 scholarships to RCTS descendant students. Surely, after serving our grateful nation, traveling to the farthest destinations of the U.S, and experiencing the most amazing aspects of nature, THIS ONE PROJECT -- deeply rooted in his own beginnings, had brought him full circle.
L.C.'s unyielding spirit took its flight far from us on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at the Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice Center, located in Akron, Ohio. "Fly, fly little wing; Fly beyond imagining; The softest cloud, the whitest dove; Upon the wind of heaven's love; Past the planets and the stars; Leave this lonely world of ours; Escape the sorrow and the pain; And fly again..."
…Yet, it lives on in each and everyone who loves and remembers him -- his wife of fifty-one years, Mrs. Frances (Cannon) Thornton of Akron, OH; his only child, Angelia R. Henderson, and grandson, Julian Van Clyde Henderson both of Decatur, GA; brothers: Dr. Alvin Thornton (Annette) of Upper Marlboro, MD, and Gene A. Thornton (Rosemary) of Montgomery, AL; Sisters: Earnestine Thornton, Linda Thornton DeSouza, and Doris Thornton Mbonzo all of Atlanta, GA, Denise Sims of Riverview, FL, and Tracey Thornton of Punta Gorda, FL; a sister-in-law, Sandra Kendricks Thornton (Calvin); two aunts: Ora Lee Chatman and Ora Bell Bailey, all of Atlanta, GA; and finally, a large number of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
While we receive all condolences and expressions of sympathy with utmost gratitude, the family respectfully suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Randolph County Training School Scholarship Foundation. A link appears below.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lonnie Clyde Thornton, please visit our floral store.
Reverend Elijah Jackson, Jr., Pastor will officiate; with Reverend L.B. Houston serving as Eulogist;
Honorary Pallbearers will be the members, friends and supporters of the R.C.T.S. Legacy and Reunion and RCTS Scholarship Foundation
Active Pallbearers and Flower Attendants will include Nephews, Nieces and friends of the Thornton Family
For the convenience and benefit of Mr. Thornton's family, we ask those who wish to post condolences or messages of sympathy, to do so directly on our website at the link provided above. Please bear in mind that not everyone uses Facebook or other social media, and the family may not be able to view all electronic condolences that are posted on social media platforms.
Once available, complete service details for Mr. Thornton can be accessed on our website at the following web address: https:www.//clarkmemorial.biz/obituary/Lonnie-Thornton
FACE MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING:
While not State Mandated, we strongly urge --AND THE FAMILY INSISTS -- that all visitors and guests continue observing masking and physical distancing in light of the resurgence of the COVID-19 Delta & Omicron Variants. PLEASE exercise this practice as an act of respect for both family members, and other guests, who may have vulnerabilities. Masking is REQUIRED while visiting on our premises.
Our sincere prayers for comfort and peace are sent forth during this unsettling time of loss; and as always, we express deepest gratitude to our communities for sharing with the Thornton families during their time of loss.
Randolph County Training School Scholarship Foundation
Post Office Box 1411, Roanoke AL 36274