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Jackie Marie Thornhill

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Jackie Marie Thornhill Obituary
Thornhill, Jackie Marie Powers
a longtime luminary in the Valley advertising and public relations community, passed away on December 2, 2015. She was 87. Born in Beaumont, TX in 1928, Jackie started her advertising career at the age of 18 in Dallas during the heyday of live radio. She quickly rose from secretary to promotions director, booking major talent and gaining a reputation for getting things done. In the early 1970s she married a brilliant young engineer named Jay Thornhill, who was one of the developers of the first transistor for Texas Instruments. In 1974, the couple moved to Phoenix and Jackie began working her magic for clients in the arts, hospitality, and entertainment sectors. Jay died suddenly in 1982. Jackie never remarried, and she never stopped working. With her flaming red hair, rapier wit, and salty repartee, Jackie was a Texas firebrand with a soft side that emerged whenever a friend was in need. She was fiercely loyal to her clients, working non-stop to deliver extraordinary PR and promotional services. Jackie was THE person to know in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, respected by the media and feared by young reporters who didn't do their homework. Kyle Lawson, a veteran arts reporter who covered the arts scene for The Arizona Republic and other publications, said in 2013 that "Back in the late '70s, I did my "training" under Jackie Thornhill, who was the publicist for the most interesting galleries, restaurants and individuals on the Valley's cultural scene at the time. She was tough as nails and defined the word "pro." Smart and quick witted, she could produce an elephant out of a hat (ask Sam Lowe), or put on a slam dunk grand opening for countless Fleming Restaurants without a hair out of place. Her friends will remember the tough little lady with an opinion on every issue and an answer for every question. Her colleagues and the media will remember her as a formidable competitor, an honest straight shooter, and a tireless perfectionist.
There will be a memorial service for Jackie this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Paradise Memorial Gardens, 9300 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale. It will be short and sweet, like Jackie on her good days. For those who can attend, bring a classic "Jackie" story to share. If not, just think of her and say a prayer for God that he doesn't tick her off. He just needs to accept that she probably will be in charge up there from now on. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Jackie's memory to or The Arizona Humane Society.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 11, 2015
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