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Jack W. Thornton


1934 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Jack W. Thornton Obituary
May 10, 1934 - January 13, 2017 Jack W. Thornton, 82, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2017, at his winter home in Indian Wells, CA with his wife, Gail and his children by his side after losing his battle against cancer. An avid tennis player, skier, biker and golfer, Jack truly enjoyed everything in life. His love of family and friends, zany sense of humor and quick wit will be missed. Jack was born on May 10,1934, to Jack and Valeria Lamb Thornton later raised by Jack and Mary Travis Thornton and his well-loved sister Ann (Ratto). He went to Los Angeles High School, graduating in 1952 and subsequently graduated from UCLA where he majored in business, was a proud Phi Gamma Delta and played center on the football team. Prior to graduation, Jack served in the Army for two years. Jack was stationed in France leading to a lasting infatuation with the country and all it had to offer. Following graduation, he moved to La Jolla, California, where he began his career in real estate with Coldwell Banker. Soon thereafter, he co-founded La Jolla Development Company with Harry Collins and proceeded to develop shopping centers throughout California. During this period, he purchased and expanded The Bottle Shop in La Jolla and participated in the ownership of La Valencia Hotel. Importing, selling, and sharing wine with friends was more than a hobby, it was a passion. Jack traveled throughout France and the rest of Europe with Kermit Lynch, in the pursuit of great wines to bring back to friends in the United States. Jack married Molly McCormick in 1963 and had four children, John, Tory, Tim, and Bridget. The family lived in La Jolla, CA until 1982 when they moved to Sun Valley, Idaho. While in Sun Valley, Jack founded Jack Thornton Wine Imports and the Evergreen Restaurant. He was a recipient of the esteemed Golden Ski award, an award given annually to the Sun Valley resident who purchased a season pass but skied the least. Jack quietly gave untold amounts to more than a few altruistic and personal causes - most of them known only perhaps to the recipients.  His ten adoring grandchildren, Tom Thornton, Kathryn Thornton, Parker Thornton, Jeanette Thornton, Maryana Thornton, Nicholas Hill, Liam Hill, Savannah DiVito, Jack DiVito and Dominic DiVito are aware of this now for the first time. In 2005, Jack and Gail Handy were married at their home in Sun Valley, Idaho. Gail and Jack traveled extensively together, visiting France, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and many more far-flung locations. All the while, Jack tried his best to become a better golfer. He held memberships at The Valley Club, Hailey, ID, Elkhorn Golf Club, Sun Valley, ID and The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, CA. During his many years in Sun Valley, Jack served on the Boards of the Community School and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. He significantly supported the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the Wood River Community YMCA, the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, Wood River Hospital and Higher Ground, to name a few of his favorite charities. His generosity touched and inspired many lives in the Wood River Valley. During his illness, Jack stated "It's like it is me against the world, and the world is winning." A close family friend responded "Actually, the world is just catching up." Jack was a one of a kind. A father, a husband, a grandfather, and a friend. A prankster, a trouble maker and the funniest guy you ever met. The world is undoubtedly a better place because he was here. Jack is survived by his loving wife, Gail, his sister Ann Ratto and his sons, John Thornton and wife, Julie and their son, Tom; Tim Thornton and his wife, Kristin, and their children, Kathryn, Parker, Jeanette and Maryana; daughter, Tory Hill and her sons, Nicholas and Liam; daughter, Bridget DiVito and her husband Scott and their children, Savannah, Jack and Dominic. Also, his step children, Kate Lesher and husband, Andrew, and their children, Eliza, Abigail and Jackson; his stepson, Breck Handy and his wife, Allison and their children, Avery, Hailey and Casey; and his stepdaughter, Abigail Piron and husband, Andrew and their children, Ella and Reid. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you uncork a nice bottle of wine and remember Jack as fondly as we do. If you would like to make a donation in Jack's memory, Jack would appreciate one to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, 100 Cory Creek, Hailey, ID 83333. Please specify the Wag the Future project for their new facility. Thank you.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 15 to Jan. 17, 2017
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