Donald Thornton

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Mr. Donald Ray Thornton passed away on March 21, 2024, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital at the age of 87, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on Chincoteague Island on July 26, 1936, the son of the late Snowden N. Thornton and the late Ida B. Thornton.

After graduating from Chincoteague High School, he entered the U.S. Coast Guard. He retired in 1975 after serving 20 years. He was a member of the American Legion and Masonic Lodge and served on the Town of Chincoteague Board of Zoning Appeals for many years. Along with his wife, Wanda, he owned and operated Pine Grove Campground and Waterfowl Park.

In addition to his wife, Wanda J. Thornton, he is survived by his two daughters, Roxanne Thornton Bowman and husband, Skip, and Cheryl Byrd Merritt, and husband, Steve; sons, John Neal Thornton and Donnie Ray Thornton; nephew, James Binder; grandchildren, Tara Mather, Jillian Merritt, Noah Merritt, Lehia Hamilton, and Katie Fitzgerald; great-grandchildren, Sabastian Mather, Jeremy Alberts, Gage Alberts, Zaedyn Merritt, Gavin Merritt, Joy Rhodes, Elijah Sharpley, Nathan Higgins, and Vivian Hamilton.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Neil Blair Thornton; sister, Esther Thornton Binder; niece, Robin Binder; daughter, Audrey Byrd Howard; and great-granddaughter, Sydney A. Mather.

A private graveside service was held on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at Greenwood Cemetery on Chincoteague. Services were officiated by Pastor Reynolds, of Delaware. Services were entrusted to Salyer’s Funeral Home Inc.

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