George Thomas Thornton, 84, passed away October 27, 2013 comfortably at his home in Medford, Ore. He was born February 6, 1929 in Clatskanie, Ore. to William "Bill the Barber" and Nora Honor (Thomas) Thornton. He graduated from Clatskanie High School in 1947. George married Dorothy L. Price in Clatskanie July 21, 1951. They celebrated their 61st anniversary in 2012.
George started work in 1947 with ODOT in Clatskanie working on road crews, building bridges, and was transferred to Bridge, Bandon, Coquille, Eugene, and then to Medford, Ore. in 1972, where he remained until his retirement as ODOT District Highway Engineer in 1984.
In younger years, George and Dorothy enjoyed dances, and George played electric guitar at jam sessions with friends. George was the ultimate outdoor enthusiast and skilled hunter/fisherman. He hunted deer, bear, rattlesnake, and fowl with his son, Don, and was accomplished with both gun and bow. He grew up salmon and sturgeon fishing along the banks of the Columbia River. He went crabbing and clam digging on the Oregon coast. Appreciation for the outdoors and Oregon's scenic beauty lead to mushroom-hunting expeditions, camping, and trips to Crater Lake with his family. He climbed Mt. Shasta with his son, Bob, in 1984 and 1985. He loved travel and adventure; touring the USA with his daughter, Nancy, by car, bus, and train.
George was a man of great integrity. He prided himself on honesty, loyalty, and hard work. His Cherokee ancestry instilled the desire to seek others with similar interest in their Native American culture. He participated in Grandma Blackstar's drumming circle in Medford, where he received his Indian name, "Flying Fox", and was looked to for counsel. He was a talented storyteller, and accomplished craftsman; carving intricate American Indian pipes, flutes, and other beautiful pieces. He enjoyed riding his motorcycles, doing crossword puzzles, and surfing on his computer. He walked his two Schnauzer dogs, Mocha and Jasper, two to three miles daily. He still met with ODOT friends once a month at Blackbear Cafe, enjoyed trips to Seven Feathers Casino, and visited his pals at Parkside Cafe, Donut Country, and enjoyed breakfast every Sunday at his daughter Debbie's house.
George was a Life member of The Oregon State Grange, Quincy #321. He was a Cub Scout Pack Master in Coquille, Ore. in 1962. He was a life member of both I.O.O.F. of Coquille, Lodge #53 after joining in 1963, and Medford, Table Rock Lodge #10. He was a member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Medford since 1972. In 1983 he joined the Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy in Talent, Ore. enrollment #1170 that recognized his Native American Indian status.
George is survived by his two sons, Donald L. of Eugene, Ore. and Robert W. of Tigard, Ore.; and his two daughters, Debra M. Lusk of Medford, Ore. and Nancy J. Thornton of Corvallis, Ore. He is also survived by two grandsons; five granddaughters; and two great-granddaughters; as well as his sister, Shirley (Thornton) Wens of Longview, Wash.; his two brothers, John of The Dalles, Ore. and Dewey of Clatskanie, Ore. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy L. (Price); his parents; and his sister, Jean (Thornton) Rutherford.
The family plans a Celebration of Life Memorial Service at 1:30 p.m. Saturday November 16, 2013 at Perl Funeral Home, 2100 Siskiyou Blvd, Medford, OR. Charitable donations can be made to The American Cancer Society.