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Don Nathaniel Thornton Sr. was born on June 9, 1930 in Drummond Tennessee to Vance Godfrey Thornton Sr. and Myrtle Viola (Wright) Thornton and their existing children: Viola, Vance Jr., Bernice, Ruth, John and Charlene. Not long after Dons birth, his dear sister Dolly was born. The two youngest Thornton children became each others best friend as their family endured many challenges including surviving a pants-stealing tornado, moving west to California during The Great Depression, working in the fields picking cotton, and living in tents and wood shacks. These difficult times helped Don develop into the hard working, loyal, and loving man his family loved so dearly.

Despite his difficult early years, Don enjoyed school, hunting with friends, playing basketball and riding motorcycles. Don graduated from Visalia High School in 1949 and was drafted into the army. He married the lovely June Bitney on June 9, 1951 shortly before being deployed to Korea where he served his country during the war. After his military service, Don worked many different jobs while also studying for a degree in teaching from Fresno State University. He was the only member of his family to graduate from high school or to earn a college degree. His lifelong devotion to education and learning has become a hallmark of his legacy - many of his children and grandchildren have sought higher education as a result of his influence.

Don will be remembered by those who knew him as a family man and a true example of a Christian. His love of God led him to serve in many different capacities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where he showed a true ability to love and serve his fellow man in a Christ like way. Don had a talent for teaching and making people feel special. His grandchildren will always remember the tears glistening in his eyes as he taught them of Jesus love, the importance of service, and of his unfailing love for his family.

Dons earthly mission ended in the early morning hours of June 26, 2021 at the age of 91. He is preceded in death by many loved ones including his beloved son Douglas. He is survived by his wife June Thornton, his sister Dolly Blackburn, his children Christine Wilkins, Don Jr., Robert, and David as well as fourteen grandchildren, and sixteen great grandchildren. His memorial service will be 2 pm July 31st 2021 at the Hanford Chapel on 2400 North 11thAvenue, Hanford California.

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