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American Veteran 09

George William Thornton

November 2, 1939 ~ July 2, 2019 (age 79)

George William Thornton, 79, returned unexpectedly to his Father in Heaven on July 2, 2019.

George made it clear to everyone he knew that he felt he experienced Heaven on Earth because he had the great blessing of marrying two women that he was hopelessly in love with. He now returns to his Heavenly Home to rejoin his first sweetheart, Mary Lynda Johnson Thornton. He leaves behind for a time his second sweetheart, Carolyn M. Horsley Thornton.

George was born on November 2, 1939 to Roy Mackey Thornton and Anna Ruth Jensen Thornton. George passed away on his father’s birthday.

In life, George wore many shoes. There were his Sunday shoes. He wore those as a faithful servant of the Lord. As a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, George blessed the lives of all he served including the times when he served as a bishop, high counselor, High Priest Group Leader and as a missionary in the Vienna, Austria/Zurich Switzerland Mission.

As a true patriot, George bravely wore his army boots. As a veteran of the U.S. Army and a Sergeant in the Green Beret Special Forces, George was a fierce protector of the freedoms he believed we are all blessed to enjoy.     

Who could forget the time George spent wearing his boots as a fire fighter? Not only was he part of the first paramedic class to graduate in Utah, he was the first Captain Paramedic on the Salt Lake City Fire Department. He was also the founder and director of the ParaMed Foundation. After retiring from the fire department, George’s public service continued as a Utah State EMS medical consultant. He was awarded the Utah Distinguished Service Award when he retired from the State in June of 2018. George was also part of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics medical team and was a first responder - another service role that he loved very much.

Then there are his running shoes. A state champion in the mile run, George was one of the first men to flirt with a sub-four-minute mile. He received a scholarship to the University of Utah to run track but was in a tragic auto accident that prevented him from pursuing that dream. That didn’t stop George from passing his love of running to his kids, grandkids and great grandkids - many of whom also became champions. George was everyone’s greatest fan.

Perhaps his favorite shoes to lace up were his hiking boots. George was most at home in the Uinta Mountains of Eastern Utah. Whether it was wetting a fly or chasing deer with his bow, George loved all of God’s creations.

George’s idea of slowing down was lacing up his worker boots. He was an accomplished carpenter, roofer, painter and landscaper. So much of George’s handiwork can be seen in the homes of family and friends. He literally was working 8 hours a day right up to the day of his passing.

In addition to being survived by his sweetheart Carolyn, he is survived by four children, three step children, two brothers, a sister, their spouses and significant others as well as many, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends and so many admirers. He took in complete strangers and insisted they call him Dad or Papa George. It literally would be impossible to list every survivor of what George considered to be his family.

Viewings will be held in George’s honor on Sunday, July 7th from 6:00-8:00pm at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main Street in Bountiful, and Monday, July 8th from 9:30-10:30am at the Kimball Mill Ward, 650 South 200 East in Bountiful with funeral services to begin at 11:00am. 

Graveside Services will begin around 3:00pm at the Woodland Cemetery at 3345 East State Route 35, Woodland, UT.

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