Bradley E. Thorne

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Bradley E. Thorne November 18, 1949-July 7, 2014
An extraordinary man died on July 7, 2014. His name was Bradley E. Thorne. How he died at 64 is of little importance as to how he lived his life. Brad was born in Seattle, graduating Shoreline High School 1968. He was proud of his service in the US Navy. Being a humble guy you might not know he was awarded several service medals, including the Meritorious Unit Commendation and Navy Unit Commendation for his service aboard the Coral Sea in the Vietnam War Theater. In 1972, RADM James Ferris, ComCarDiv Three had this to say about the men of Coral Sea "It was more than just a ship, but a spirit of the men on Coral Sea, that fought the war on the line at Yankee Station. Your remarkable ability to get the job done with a ship launched in 1946 and a wing equipped with aircraft slightly older than the average has been an object lesson in what determination can produce. Your determined and innovative tactics in the air have led the way for man and have dealt the enemy many heavy blows."
Those of us who took the time to look beyond his rough exterior and into his kind eyes soon learned he was a horse whisperer long before the term got over used and adulterated, having many folks searching out his advice in dealing with hard to handle or ill animals. He was a gifted writer, whose songs and stories reflected a life rich in experience and love. His quick wit and sense of humor kept his friends in laughter. His talented abilities as both welder and diesel mechanic were reflected in his vehicles which he managed to keep functioning well past the manufacturer's recommended life span. He was an asset to his many employers having been educated through Renton Vo Tech, Bates Vocational and Yakima Valley Community College ending a long career as a welder with Zacklift International of Cle Elum, Washington. He was a knowledgeable historian on all things related to the railroad and steam engines. He passionately pursued his live action steam railroad hobby and belonged to The Puget Sound Garden Railway Society-Live Steam Special Interest Group.
In knowing Brad, especially in walking beside him through this last year of his life, we witnessed an outpouring of love, respect and kindness from people you would least expect. From neighbors, bank tellers, business owners, and shop workers right on up to the team of doctors and nurses both in Yakima and Seattle who recognized the worth of this life and fought tirelessly to help this unique and extraordinary man continue to live a life he loved. In the spirit of RADM Ferris's observation of the men who served on Coral Sea, this writer recognizes Brad's remarkable ability to rise above his circumstances and those who judged him to be less than as an object lesson in what determination can produce. For Brad, that was forgiveness. Something he found easier to accomplish after experiencing the perfect Love of God and His angels during his hand-in-hand walk with the Lord when some years previous he died due to heart failure, only to return to this life. He knew the Lord wanted to use him as one of the least of these to reveal the true heart of the men and women whose paths he crossed. Brad's determination in finding the positive and good in all things has led the way for many to behave in like manner. Brad was one of the angels the Lord sends the mortals here on earth in the disguise of a stranger and, sadly, many were unaware.
He leaves behind his beloved mustang Skeeter; his mom, Peggy Nelson, and dad, Charley Thorne, both of Federal Way; a cousin, Patti Deane, of Bainbridge Island; close friends Jim Montgomery and Nancy Brown of Edmonds; Bob, Bethany, Glenn and Dale Paul of Ellensburg; and Robert Ray of Gleed. He will be missed by all of these and many more.
A celebration of Brad's life will be held in Cle Elum, Washington at a later date in August which will be revealed in another posting.

Published in Daily Record from July 19 to July 26, 2014
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