Patrick C. Thornton, 63, of Fernandina Beach, Florida died
January 27, 2013 while vacationing in Hawaii. He was born on March 3, 1949 to Regis and Lena Thornton in Santa Maria, California. A
celebration of Pat’s life is planned for August 5 from 2 – 4:30 at Chemeketa Eola Vitner Center, 215 Doaks Ferry Road NW, Salem, Oregon and a graveside service will be held at Highview Cemetery in Ione, Oregon on August 7, 2013 at 5 p.m. with a dinner
to follow at the Ione American Legion Hall.
Patrick spent his childhood in The Dalles, Oregon and graduated from The Dalles High School in 1967. He
attended both Oregon State University and Oregon College of
Education (now Western Oregon University), in Monmouth, Oregon. After graduating from OCE in 1971, with a
degree in elementary
education, Patrick began his teaching career in Astoria, Oregon at Robert Gray Middle School. Over the following years, he would teach and serve as an
elementary / middle school counselor and Child Development
Specialist in the Salem and Corvallis school
districts. He ended his career teaching evere emotionally handicapped high school
students. He received
his Master’s Degree in Education from Oregon College of Education. Patrick also worked,
for a short time, as an insurance agent with State Farm.
On June 14th, 1970, Patrick married Berniece Matthews in Ione, Oregon. They would live in Astoria and Albany, before finally settling in Salem, Oregon where they raised their two children, Mike and Keely. After retiring from teaching, they spent the winters in Fernandina Beach, Florida where Patrick loved searching the beaches of Amelia Island for shark’s teeth and numerous types
of shells. During the summers, they greatly enjoyed visiting their children in Brooklyn, New York and Burlington, Wisconsin, returning to Oregon to spend time with their family and longtime friends, and traveling the eastern half of the United States visiting Civil War battle sites and doing
genealogy. Patrick also enjoyed antiquing, especially looking for and collecting 45’s of the 1950’s and 60’s. He also loved watching NASCAR and Formula I races, doing photography, telling jokes, watching movies and walking the beaches of Oregon, Hawaii, and Florida adding to his collection of agates and shells. During the past year, he also became an avid bird watcher.
Patrick is survived by his wife, Berniece, and their two children and spouses: Mike and Sarah Thornton of Brooklyn, New York and Keely and Justin Braun of Burlington, Wisconsin. Other survivors
include his brother, Mike, and his wife, Sandy, of Long Beach, WA, 3 nieces and 2 grandnephews along with a number of other family members and wonderful friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Regis and Lena Thornton, and his mother and father-in-law, Mike and Edith Matthews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Mike Matthews Scholarship Fund c/o the Bank of Eastern Oregon in Ione, PO Box 106, Ione, Oregon 97843, your local Humane
Society or ASPCA, or to a charity of your choice.
Sweeney Mortuary of Heppner is in care of local arrangements.
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