Dewayne Allen Thornton
Dwayne peacefully departed this life on Wednesday morning, April 12, 2023, at the age of 90. Dwayne was married to Dorothy (Dott) Thurmon Thornton who preceded him in death in 1995. He was also preceded in death by his parents, his sister, and his loving niece, Debbie Williams Ventura. He is survived by two children, David Thornton (Tracy) of Guthrie and Dana Thornton Huston (Craig) of Tulsa, OK; five grandchildren, Matt Thornton (Liselotte Petersson), Los Angeles, CA; Grey Thornton, Guthrie, OK, Chad Huston (Jackie), Kansas City, MO, Curt Huston (Lauren), Overland Park, KS, and Callie Huston, Tulsa. Dwayne had three great grandchildren, Cleo Merrill, Edith Noel, and Brooks Allen, and a host of family and friends who loved and cherished him.
Dwayne was born in Warren, Arkansas to Claude and Ladola (Sharp) Thornton and lived his early years on the family farm in Vick, AR. He adored his younger sister Janice, nicknaming her Tootelum. His formative years were spent in Bradley County, AR growing and picking tomatoes. The family moved to Los Gatos, CA but he soon returned to Vick. He received special permission to graduate early from high school and attend cook school for the US Army in San Antonio, TX at age 17. He graduated with honors but decided cooking was not to be his life’s calling. He returned to Warren to site timber in the dense woods of southern Arkansas for the local mill and then moved on to El Dorado, AR to drive a Rainbo Bread truck route. It was here he met the love of his life, Dorothy (Dott) Thurmon. They married in 1954 and lived in El Dorado until he re-enlisted in the Army and was sent to Anchorage, AK as a staff sergeant. In nearby Fairbanks, they became a family with the birth of their son David Wayne in 1956. Dwayne attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR. and earned a degree in Management. Upon graduating, he began his career at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Little Rock, AR, where daughter, Dana Carol, was born in 1960. Serving in several capacities, Dwayne rose through the ranks of management, transferring several times throughout the 5 states. He retired from Southwestern Bell in Oklahoma City after 31 years. Post retirement, he worked for Mr. Robert S. Kerr, Jr. of the Kerr Foundation as a Executive Assistant and said it was the best job he ever had.
Dwayne had varied interests, one of which was a love of cars. He compiled a chronological list of cars he had owned and could talk at length about each one. Not one for fancy collector cars, he just loved the cars he had bought and owned. In the early sixties, he owned a Studebaker and then replaced it with a ‘family’ car: a 1962 Rambler station wagon. He loved to travel; some memorable trips were with Dott to Hong Kong/China, Jerusalem, Egypt, Austria, England, Hawaii, Mexico and many cities in the US. He loved to visit Hilton Head Island and visited his sister, nieces, and nephew in California several times.
Dwayne felt a call to volunteer in many capacities. He had a fascination with politics and an abiding desire to improve his community. In 1972, he was elected City Councilman, Ward 8 in Florissant, MO; however, he was transferred with his company and had to resign from completing the full term. He was a lifelong member of the Telephone Pioneers, served on the board of directors for the Oklahoma City Habitat for Humanity, and worked for many years as a volunteer for the Oklahoma County Election Board. Dwayne moved to Tulsa in 2015 and became active in his Inverness/Covenant Living retirement community: playing bridge and competitive Wii bowling, helping out at Village Treasures, attending worship and Bible studies, and serving as hall captain.
He was a quiet and kind man of faith who always took time to visit, listen, and be present in others’ lives. He was the definition of a Southern gentleman. He leaves an unfillable void, but we hold to the hope and promise of Christ that as believers, we will meet with him again. It is our prayer you are secure in that promise as well. He has overcome death through Christ. A loving special thanks to his companion helper Jordan and his caregivers Diana, Jesi, and Joy, all of whom provided tender, sweet care. For those reading this, thank you for being in his life and enriching it. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Habitat for Humanity or the charity of choice.