Everett Coy Thornton, 72, of Belgrade, passed away Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Belgrade.
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He was born to the late Dale and Adolfena (Nelson) Thornton on April 6, 1941, in Sheridan, Wyo. Everett attended schools in Gallatin Gateway and Bozeman. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1962 on the aircraft carrier USS Hancock.
Everett was a jack of all trades, working in many different fields throughout his life. For most of his career, he owned and operated a heavy construction and trucking business. Everett also spent many years in the mining industry prospecting for gold in numerous locations throughout Montana and Nevada. He was an accomplished equipment operator, mechanic, welder and had an exceptional ability to build or rebuild any type of machine.
Everett learned to fly while in the Navy and retained a love of aircraft and aviation even long after he stopped flying. He also had an interest in collecting antique cars, trucks and machinery of all types. Everett was a proud father and grandfather who could not pass up an opportunity to boast about his family. He enjoyed sharing stories of friends, work and family down at the "coffee shop" with his friends.
Everett is survived by his wife, Jan, and six children, Sandy Spring of Great Falls, daughter of Virginia Covey; Kim LeBeaux of Billings and Shawna Pretty Bear of Norman, Okla., daughters of Colleen Sherwood; Tara (Dirck) Tomac of Bozeman, Randy (Michelle) Thornton of Huntsville, Ala., and Shane Thornton of San Antonio, Texas, children of Jan Thornton. He is also survived by 19 grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and sisters, Wanda Henderson, Vona Soule, Bonnie Soule, Eva Erstad and Renee Bauer.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dale and Adolfena; brother, Glen; son, Randy Smith (son of Virginia Covey); and grandson, Shylon Alden.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in his name to the Hope Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, 2152 Graf St., Bozeman, MT 59718 (www.hopebozeman.com), Down Syndrome Research Education and Advocacy in Montana, P.O. Box 161894, Big Sky, MT 59716 (www.dream-mt.org), or the
Visitation will be Thursday, March 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. Graveside Services will be held Friday, March 7 at 1 p.m. at Sunset Hills Cemetery with Memorial Services to follow at 2 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 6, 2014