James Allen Thornton Profile Photo
1941 James Allen Thornton 2023

James Allen Thornton

January 23, 1941 — April 20, 2023

James Allen Thornton was born January 23, 1941, near Commerce, GA, to Benjamin Paul Thornton and Nettie Lou Graham Thornton.  Five months after his birth, Jim’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she died the following month.  His father, being a long-distance truck driver, would be unable to care for his four children.  Jim’s older sisters, Doris, Virginia, and Lillian were placed in an orphanage in Atlanta, but because they didn’t accept infants, James Allen was placed with his grandparents, George and Lillian Graham.

Jim’s grandfather was a sharecropper in the Commerce area. When Jim was about three, he would take water to his grandpa, who would rest under a tree while Jim took the horses for water.  His grandmother made him a small cotton sack so he could pick cotton. Jim said, “It wasn’t work; it was fun because I was with my grandfather, which is where I loved to be.” Wherever his grandfather was, Jim would usually be right at his side.

When Jim’s father remarried, he came to pick up Jim and take him with him. But Jim saw him coming and ran to the woods to hide.  They searched all day but couldn’t find him.  He stayed there long after his father left in fear that he would come back.  When Jim finally went back to the house, his grandfather, the only person that loved him, put his arms around him and said, “Son, let’s go sit on the porch.” It was the only time he saw his grandfather cry.  It was his Grandfather Graham who influenced him in becoming the kind a caring person he was.

When Jim was ten years old, his grandfather died, and he was forced to live with his father and step-mother. They were not kind to him, and these were difficult years for Jim.  To escape at seventeen, Jim joined the Army, serving in Germany.  After service, he returned to Atlanta, working in the post office at night and attending college in the day on the GI Bill.

Jim’s career was in computer work at Honeywell Corporation and Cerner Corporation.  He loved his work and the lifelong friends he made at each of these places.

Jim loved his church, his family, music, dancing, travel, theater, and racquetball.

Jim leaves his wife of 37 years, Juanita O’Connor Thornton; his daughter, Marlo Thornton Demark and her husband Dr. Thomas Demark; granddaughters, Millie Thornton Long and Sally Thornton Long, and step-grandson, Aiden Demark.

James died on April 20, 2023, at North Kansas City Hospital.

Visitation will begin at 9:30 am, followed by Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 am, on Thursday, April 27, at St. James Catholic Church, Liberty, MO.   A luncheon will follow at 11:30 am. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Plattsburg, MO.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. James Catholic Church, 309 South Stewart Road, Liberty, MO 64068 or to Calvary Cemetery, c/o Dan O’Connor, 814 NE 288th Street, Turney, MO 64493.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Allen Thornton, please visit our flower store.


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