Jack Dempsey Thornton, age 94, of Monroe and formerly of Athens, passed away peacefully on July 18, 2013, with his family and friends at his side.
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Jack married his sweetheart, Rheba Wallace (affectionately known as "Sweety"), on July 4, 1942. That was the only time he could get leave to come to Georgia and take his sweetheart back to New York City with him.
Jack was an honorable veteran. He served during World War II, and although he was never stationed over-seas, he had an important position in the U.S. Army in New York City. He was a chauffeur with security clearance for the top leaders of the war when they were there. When General George C. Marshall was in town, he always requested Jack to be his driver.
After Jack's discharge from the military, he and Rheba moved back to Athens and lived in the Five Points area for over 40 years. Jack and Rheba were employed together at Rogers Hosiery Mill for 14 years, and Jack later retired from Westinghouse.
Jack was a long-standing member of American Legion Post #20, and a charter member of St. James Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, the late Ira C. Thornton and Ola Thurmond Miller; stepfather, Frank Miller; wife, Sarah Rheba "Sweety" Wallace Thornton; and son, "Baby" Robert Thornton.
Survivors include his daughter, Stacey (Charlie) Hein; grandchildren, Chris (Teresa) Hein, Becca (Jason) Haas, Alicia (Ben) Hyde, Mary Hein, and Zhay Hein; great-grandchildren, Ira, Eli, Josh, Luke, Levi, and Jayden; and brothers, Hugh, Ike, and Basil Thornton.
Jack and Rheba helped raise many children, until they were blessed with their daughter, Stacey Lynn Thornton, during their middle years. They also assisted in raising Vickie and Michael Moorehead. Jack was known as "Uncle Jack" to all of the neighborhood children, and the Thornton home was always open to drop in at any time.
The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at Bridges Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, in the chapel of Bridges Funeral Home, with the Revs. Robert Nash, Terry Chandler, and Leon Pass officiating.
Bridges Funeral Home, Athens, is in charge of the arrangements.
Bridges Funeral Home, Inc.
3035 Atlanta Highway Athens, GA 30606
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on July 20, 2013