Robert Blake Thornton, 67, passed away on December 7th 2020, losing his near six year battle with cancer.
Robert was born in Windsor Canada, the seventh of eight children, born to Blake Ellerby Thornton and Delma Fern (Marin) Thornton.
Rob grew up in Royal Oak, Detroit, two blocks from the Detroit Zoo, and would remember growing up to trumpeting elephants and lions roaring being normal sounds at his house.
Working with his brother, Mike, as a young man, he learned the skills of construction and went on to own and operate his own successful siding and window business. He completed hundreds of jobs in the Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie County area. Traveling to Traverse City on almost any road, you will be driving by his work, still looking as good as when he finished it. Also doing jobs in Grand Marais, in the U.P., where he also owned property. His dedication to quality work led to a reputation for excellence, resulting in making many lifelong friends along the way.
Robert also had a knack and love for fixing all things mechanical, which started at a young age with discarded lawnmowers, and continued throughout his life with vintage and collectable motorcycles, cars, and trucks. There were not very many projects that Robert was unable to fix and get running again.
While trying to track down a rumor of an old Dodge truck on a country road in Benzie County, Robert drove up a driveway and not only found the truck, but also the woman who would someday become his wife and love of his life. Thus began the happiest period of his time on earth. They would have one child together.
Bob had a great love for the outdoors. He spent every available spare afternoon or weekend, if not working on a vehicle, either outside hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, camping, four-wheeling, or just walking in the woods. His fondest memories would be ice fishing with his children here in Northern Michigan, four-wheeling adventures down never before traveled back-roads, and the taking of a 300 lb bear on opening day, in the U.P. foggy mornings here in Michigan, often reminded him of his home back in Yachats, Oregon, where he lived for a time.
There wasn't many things Robert endeavored to do in his life that he was not able to master. His vision for a project, no matter how big, never intimidated or bested him. He was faithful and dependable to those he loved and known to be always available and eager to lend a helping hand to friends and family whenever needed.
Robert leaves behind his wife, Esther; one brother, Peter (Marlene) Thornton; and four sisters, Phyllis (Jim) Johnson, Colleen Thornton, Jenny Johnson and Toni (Mike) Aicreno.
Also his five children, who he loved dearly, Amber, Caleb, Justin (Naomi), Ashley and Madeline. And his treasured grandchildren: Lilly, Lance and Lavender. Also many nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death by his father and mother; his brother, Mike; and his brother, David, in infancy.
The family would like to thank all the wonderful staff of Munson Hospice, who many times went over and above what their job required of them, making his final year not just tolerable, but brought true joy and friendship into our house.
Cremation has taken place and per Roberts wishes his ashes will be spread in the Great Outdoors that he loved. Gone from this world but not from our hearts, he will be sorely missed but lovingly remembered.