Orvell Franklin Thornton


Birth Date: October 23, 1932

Death Date: September 29, 2016

Visitation Date: 10-1-2016 Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Visitation Place : Heritage Funeral Home


Service Date: 10-1-2016 Time: 3:00 PM
Service Place : Heritage Funeral Home


Cemetery Date: 10-1-2016 Time: 4:30 PM
Cemetery Place : Vancleave #2 - Vancleave, MS

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Obituaries » Orvell Franklin Thornton




Orvell Franklin Thornton, 83 of Vancleave, MS, passed away on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at his home in Vancleave. Orvell was born on October 23, 1932 in Horton, AL to the late Charlie C. and Edna Mae Nolen Thornton. Orvell was a devout Christian before all else. He accepted Christ and was baptized on the 5th Sunday of June in 1980. He was a founding member of Graceland Baptist Church and was currently a member of First Baptist Church of Vancleave. Throughout his life, Orvell fought many battles, but he did not fight death, because he knew who he was going to be with. He believed that heaven was real and eternal, but believed that hell was also.  Among his many talents, he was blessed with the gift of music. He loved to sing old time gospel and he could play the piano, organ and keyboard. He was a veteran of the United States Army and served during the Korean War, where he was active from 1952-1955. After receiving numerous awards and medals, he was honorably discharged where he then began his career in law enforcement. He worked for the city of Pascagoula first, where he retired as a captain and court clerk, before serving as a Justice Court Judge from 1992 through 1996. During both of his careers in public service, Orvell always remembered his teenage dream of owning his own fishing camp, so he opened and ran Gautier Marina for many years. Orvell loved his family and always enjoyed taking family vacations and going camping. He had a passion for the outdoors, where he loved to grow and root his roses, working in his yard, fishing and golfing. He was also a craftsman and would build purple martin and blue bird houses, as well as bird feeders that he would donate to the local golf courses. Above all he will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

In addition to his parents, Orvell was preceded in death by his brothers, Donald, Nolen, Kenneth, Melvin, and Beuman Earl Thornton and his sisters, Katherine Howell, Margie Younger, Juanita Winstead and Bonnie Mazingo.

The family would like to say a special thank you to  Hospice of Light and nurses, Susan Greenough, Aaron Teer, Teresa Hanna and Connie Couples for their outstanding care of Orvel.

He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Bobbie Rae Rinks Thornton; children, Teresa Diane Thornton Blackman, Mark Stephen (Greta) Thornton, and Jason Wayne (Catherine) Thornton; grandchildren, Bradley Ray (Jeanna) Blackman, Russell Aaron (Ashley) Blackman, Jerrod Stephen (Alicia) Thornton, Michael (Joshalette) Cothern, Rebecca Leanne Blackman (Brad) Margherio, Karoline Grace Thornton (Andrew) Johnson, and Courtney Leigh Cothern (Brent) Martin; 17 great-grandchildren; siblings, Joyce McKinley, Frances (Doug) Hill, and Terry Thornton; along with numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

The visitation for Orvell will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home in Escatawpa, MS. The funeral service will follow in the funeral home chapel beginning at 3:00 p.m. with Rev. Tom Byrge and Rev. McKinley Warth officiating. Interment will be held at Vancleave Cemetery #2 with Bradley Blackman, Russell Blackman, Jerrod Thornton, Michael Cothern, Brent Martin, Jamie Thornton and Jeff Gibbs serving as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be sent to the American Cancer Society, P.O Box 22718 Oklahoma City, OK 73123 in memory of Orvell.

Heritage Funeral Home, locally owned and operated, in Escatawpa/ Moss Point, MS is in charge of arrangements.