Ken Thornton, living the dream

 In News, Obituaries

Ken Thornton loved life and he lived it to the fullest.
The beloved member of the Creemore community died Oct. 28 at the age of 101. He had moved last year to be closer to his family but it wasn’t that long ago that he could be seen making the rounds through the village or cruising in his red Mustang.
Thornton was a regular visitor at The Echo office. Whether delivering Spike and Rusty cartoons or planning his next project, he was always full of ideas and had energy to spare.
When asked how he was doing, Thornton was always quick to come back with his trademark, “tickety-boo.”
He had an innate curiosity and a thirst for learning. Thornton created a Christmas card each year featuring a new skill he had learned – ventriloquism, playing the organ and the harp. He learned to play the violin and took up Tai Chi.
After moving from his home outside of the village, Thornton lived in a beautiful apartment above the Mad and Noisy Gallery where he had a fine view of the village he loved. When not on the go, Thornton took time to sit at his computer and write. He completed two books, a collection of short stories called A Barnyard Affair and a novel, The Elusive Dream, a fictional story inspired by Thornton’s life-long dream of joining the RCMP.
Famously, Thornton achieved that dream when he was in his 80s by learning to play the bagpipes and joining the RCMP Pipes and Drums band.
The Second World War had diverted Thornton from his dream of joining the police force but at the age of 84, he marched onto Parliament Hill in the red uniform of the Mounties, which he so admired. He formed a special bond with the RCMP over his six years with the band. In 2012, RCMP Pipes and Drums created the Ken Thornton Trophy awarded to the band member who most demonstrated the traits and character of the man himself. He once addressed a graduating class at headquarters in Regina and in 2016 Thornton presented the band with a new regimental mace as a gesture of gratitude.
“It was the best years of my life,” he told The Echo last year, just before his 100th birthday. “They took me everywhere and I loved it.”
Thornton had many friends in the community and was an inspiration to all.
He was given the honour of being the first person to ring the bell at St. John’s United Church for the ringing of the bells last year marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War armistice.
Last year, he was the guest speaker at Remembrance Day service at the Legion, where he was a member. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge for more than 65 years and is the recipient of several citizenship awards.
Thornton had four children, 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. His family threw him a grand celebration on his 100th birthday and recently facilitated a visit to Creemore to see his old friends.
Visitation will take place at Oakview Funeral Home located at 56 Lakeshore Rd. W, Oakville, on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Memorial Service will take place at St. John’s United Church located at 262 Randall St., Oakville, on Monday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. Reception to follow.

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