Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

William Terrance “Terry” Thornton (1939-2010)

We have lost a beloved educator, storyteller, and blogger. Terry was my second cousin once removed. His parents were Garfus Sherman Thornton and Letha Doris Hollingsworth Thornton. He was born and grew up in the Parham Community of Monroe County, Mississippi. He has immortalized this area through his blog, “Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi” and through his columns in the Monroe Journal bearing the same title. He graduated from Hatley High School and the University of Mississippi. He served as principal of Amory Middle School at one time and later went on to be a professor at Troy State University in Alabama. He retired to Rinnie, Tennessee, near Crossville. (He always did like those hills.) He later returned to Mississippi to be nearer his family, residing in Fulton in Itawamba County, just north of his beloved Monroe County. Terry’s wife Betty, sons Teb and Jim, and brother Sherman survive him.

Terry was a born storyteller. He loved to relate stories of the family. Several years ago, he started a newsletter for family members called “The Thornton News.” It was sent to all descendants of Richard Thornton and his elusive wife Agnes. [We’ve since determined that Agnes’ surname was Branum or Barnum.] In one of the earlier issues of that newsletter, he related why Monk Thornton had to move to Georgia. It was very entertaining. He also related the story of the “worm” (a moonshining term) that he later shared on his blog. We all looked forward to his contributions.

After the demise of the newsletter, he eventually turned to blogging to share his stories – not just with his own family, but with others as well. His gift of relating a story made his blog a favorite of many. He had a following, not only in the blogging community, but also in the “Hill Country” area. He was asked to share his stories with the readers of the Monroe Journal (a merger of the Amory Advertiser and Aberdeen Examiner). He did so in a biweekly column as long as he was able to continue.

Visitation will be Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 5-7 p.m. (CDT) at E. E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory, Mississippi. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, 12 August 2010 at the funeral home with burial in Lann Cemetery following. [Terry shared a photo of his pre-need marker on his blog (complete with a bagpiper).]

Memorial gifts may be made to the Itawamba Historical Society of which he was a member. Address is P.O. Box 7, Mantachie, MS 38855.

His obituary and online guest book for those wishing to express condlences to the family are available here: http://www.legacy.com/funerals/eepicklefuneralhome-amory-smithville/obituary.aspx?n=william-terrance-thornton-terry&pid=144608502.

One more quick memory: Terry loved his catfish from Pickles on the Hill in Amory! He would have to stop there every chance he got!

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3 Comments:

  • I just ran into this blog post that features a young Terry Thornton from his days in educational television:

    http://intupelo.blogspot.com/2009/02/post-10-interesting-experiment.html

    He had so many talents!

    By Blogger Dorene from Ohio, at 7:55 PM  

  • Lori,

    Condolences to Terry's family. I so enjoyed his posts about North Mississippi and Alabama. We shared a couple Emails about 1st Alabama Cavalry and I wasn't through picking his brain yet. RIP Terry.

    By Blogger GeneaDiva, at 9:12 PM  

  • Lori, thanks for the post on FB. I had just read the obit in the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. I feel a deep sense of loss and will miss Terry's thoughtfulness and his wit. My sympathy goes out to all who mourn him and to Betty.

    Ann Gordon

    By Blogger Ann Gordon, at 1:16 PM  

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