Philip A. Thorneycroft

Obituary
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Thorneycroft, Philip A
March 13, 1929 - February 19, 2013. Phil Thorneycroft (83) of Phoenix, Arizona passed away quietly on February 19th two days after being admitted to hospice after a long bout with emphysema and prostate cancer. Despite his suffering his gentle affectionate nature, dignity and sense of humor were intact right up to the end. Phil is survived by his wife of 62 years, Norma Lee (Pinky) Thorneycroft, his three sons and their spouses (Greg and Frank of Los Angeles; Lee and Charmain of Mesa and Jeff and Beth of Nashville) and his three wonderful grandchildren (Philip, Lauren and Michael). He is also survived by his sister-in-law Kay Thorneycroft, beloved nieces and nephews Tari and Rich Mattson, Kathy and Jim Rosenwinkel, Mike and Gayle Thorneycroft, David and Christine Teichler, Mark and Joyce Teichler and his grandnieces and nephews Erika, Bryant, Michael, Matt, Tyler, Delaney, Laura, Chris, Matthew and Lisa and first cousins David, Jan, Jack and Betty Kenny. Other beloved family members to whom he was more like a surrogate Dad are cousins Sam Cesar, Dennis Hopkins and Adriane (Hopkins) Grimaldi. He also leaves a wide circle of lifelong friends and extended family. Phil loved his boyhood and upbringing in Elmhurst, Illinois and often came close to describing it as idyllic. He was a popular student and actor at his high school (York High) which would become a theme repeated later in life. In 1947 he came west to spend a year in Phoenix where his older brother Dick was a pilot and flight instructor at Luke Air Force Base. Although he joked that for some reason his loving parents only gave him a one way ticket to Phoenix, he fortunately fell in love with Arizona where he stayed for the rest of his life. He soon got a job at the Valley National Bank working in the Willetta Street branch where many life-long friendships began. He became involved at Phoenix Little Theatre with roles in several productions in the late 1940s including "Our Town." In 1950 he met Pinky on a blind date and shortly thereafter they were married. Around the same time Phil joined the National Guard and once slept (miraculously unscathed) through a buffalo stampede around his tent in Ft. Huachuca. Phil and Pinky became involved in the Jaycees and Jaydettes where Phil was eventually elected Vice President of the local Jaycee chapter. As Phil and Pinky were raising their three boys, he went to work for the Arizona Highway Department moving up through the ranks to eventually become Director of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and Assistant Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. Passionate about his work he was an influential leader and well respected by peers and state legislators alike for his personal integrity. Phil and Pinky forged many deep and lasting friendships around the country during his tenure as President of Arizona Region 4 of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). After retiring he returned to his creative roots. He developed the website for his York High classmates in time for their 60th reunion and was hailed by his classmates for inspiring them to re-connect via the Internet prior to and long after the reunion. His lifelong hobby of photography grew into videography where he became adept at computer video, digital and sound editing. He captured his family's life events and turned them into cherished video and DVD productions. As Pinky began her 25+ year stint with Twila Stern's Forever Young Dancers, Phil joined in as performer and Emcee for many of the memorable Forever Young Dancer's big show extravaganzas. As the dancers toured the world, Phil captured it all on video and returned to his home studio where he researched, wrote, and produced mini-documentaries of their incredible trips with his narrations often demonstrating his voice-over quality talents. Also in retirement he returned to acting and found an agent and soon enjoyed performing in national and local commercials including a Super Bowl commercial. At age 81 he landed a role in the motion picture "Valley of the Sun". His movie-making experience was a highlight of his life and as usual his endearing personality sparked bonds of friendship with the filmmakers and actors with whom he worked that continued after the movie was a wrap. Phil was an extremely proud American and loved his country deeply. There was nothing better to him than hearing a good marching band performing Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" or a men's chorus singing a lump-in-your-throat rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." He was intelligent, very sentimental and a man of diverse talents. He could write a poem, remodel a home, build a cabin, sing a song, construct a club house for his kids, invent a joke, discuss politics, act and write, design and build furniture, dance the jitter-bug, deliver a speech, fix a car, and support his family all at the same time. But most of all he was a kind, affectionate and funny man who deeply loved his wife and family and approached life with a "live and let live" philosophy, a belief in the Golden Rule and as a result he touched many a heart along the way. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the . A memorial service will be held on Saturday March 9th at 6:00 PM at Grace Chapel, 8524 E Thomas Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 3, 2013
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