Michael Timothy Thornton
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Michael Thornton passed away after a valiant struggle with cancer at his home in Marietta, GA on June 7, 2021. He was surrounded by his family and friends from the Holy Innocents' community.
Michael Timothy Thornton was born in Riverside, CA on July 11, 1948 to Arthur Lee and Ruth Flowers Thornton. His early life was nomadic due to his father's position as a warrant officer with the US Air Force. His childhood included stops in Bedford, MA; Baghdad, Iraq; and Topeka, KS. At the age of ten, he settled with his family in Huntington, WV. He attended Gallaher Elementary, Lincoln Junior High School, and Huntington East High School from which he graduated in 1966. He was co-captain of the football team as well as senior class president. He then matriculated at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA where he majored in history. He also served as tri-captain of the football team. Michael excelled academically and was the recipient of an NCAA post graduate scholarship. It was at W&L that he became acquainted with what would later be a large part of his life, the sport of lacrosse. After a few years' hiatus, during which he taught history and coached football at the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA, he returned to W&L for law school from which he graduated in 1978.
After graduate school, he accepted an associate position with Hansell Post, a leading southeastern law firm in Atlanta, GA. In 1985, Michael and some partners opened their own law firm: Dennis, Cory, Porter, and Thornton. Later striking out on his own as Michael T. Thornton LLC, he continued to practice law until 2006. At that time, having served as a volunteer coach for his son's teams for years and even winning a state championship as interim head lacrosse coach at the Lovett Scholl in 2004, he decided to return to teaching and coaching full-time. He was employed by Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in 2005 as head lacrosse coach and assistant football coach, adding middle school history teacher the following year.
During his time at H.I.E.S., he was known by the coaches as Old Mike, who never missed a workout, enjoyed playing golf and hanging out with the staff, and loved the boys on his teams as if they were his own. To his players and students, he was a gruff but loveable father-figure who held them accountable and challenged them, all the while encouraging them to reach their potential as he knew they had more to give. In all his devotion to H.I.E.S., however, and despite hours of driving, Michael always made time to see his son compete in sports throughout his high school and college careers. In later years, he never missed a chance to visit and play with his grandchildren.
Michael is survived by son Eamon, daughter-in-law Jessica, and grandchildren Joseph Luke, Adelyn Ruth, and Noah Michael of Chattanooga, TN. Other survivors include his sisters Patricia and Helen Thornton of Pittsburgh, PA , former wife Nancy Ginsberg Thornton of Camden, SC and a host of dear friends and colleagues.
A memorial service will be held at the Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church with the Reverend David Wagner presiding on July 31 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Society or to the scholarship fund for Holy Innocents' Episcopal School.
" Try not to become a man of success, but rather become a man of value." ----Albert Einstein