Rolland “Ron” Thornton, age 80 of Lake, MI formerly of Elsie, MI passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at Mid-Michigan Health, Midland, MI.
A Private Memorial Service will be held on November 14, 2020 at 11:00 A.M., with Mr. Dennis Baese officiating. Burial will take place at Duplain Township Cemetery, St. Johns, MI. The service will be streamed live on Smith Family Funeral Homes Facebook page.
Ron was born in St. Johns, MI on November 13, 1939, the son of Earl Thornton and Cereta (DeVries) Kiger. Ron grew up in the Rochester Colony and Elsie area where he worked with his grandfather T.C. Thornton and his uncles on their farms. Ron graduated from Elsie High School in 1957 and enlisted in the Marines. He was in the 3rd Marine Air Wing, Legal Office at El Toro, CA. He was honorably discharged and returned to Elsie in 1959.
In June 1960, Ron married his first wife Sharon Loznak and started hanging drywall. In 1984, he opened his own fabricating business called Michigan Carts and Dollies. Along with his second wife, Ruth Ann (Raymer) Thornton, they built their primary contract with Dominos Pizza. In 1988, he sold his welding business and went into real estate where he became a broker.
Ron was very civic minded and had a great love for the Village of Elsie. He belonged to the Elsie Improvement Association and the DDA. The values Ron’s family instilled in him created a lifelong personal commitment to family and respect for others. In gratitude for all they taught him, Ron and Ruth started an annual cousin’s get together at their home in Lake which was laughingly called “YoHo” which ran for about 12 years.
Ron is survived by his wife Ruth, of 32 years, his three children; Wayne (Silvia) of Medina, OH, Randy (Lesa) of Concord, NC, and Ronda (Andrew) of Belmont, MI, two stepchildren; Joel Darnell and Lee Ann Darnell, both of Elsie, MI. Together Ron and Ruth have 13 grandchildren; Travis, Chelsy, Nik, Alex, Austin, Brandon, Britney, Heather, Nicole, Jon, Dustin, Eric, Alicia, and 16 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Keith (Patsy) of Sturgis, MI, sister Lora White of Rochester Colony/St. Johns, MI, loving members of Ruth’s family, and many special nieces and nephews. Ron was preceded in death by his parents, brother Marlynn “Mert” Thornton, and brother-in-law James White.
Memorials may be made to Hospice or the Elsie Food Bank. Online condolences can be made at www.smithfamilyfuneralhomes.com. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie, MI.
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