April 15, 1931 – January 10, 2021
Emory Dewitt Thornton was born April 15, 1931 in the small town of K’Ville Georiga. Emory walked into heaven holding the hand of his best friend and niece, Viva Lee Taylor, who passed a few hours after him, on January 10, 2021. They were the last two of their generation and are now reunited with their parents and siblings.
At age 17 Emory went to work for the American Oil Company as a longshoreman to help his mother Mae and Father Hillary. He retired after 37 years in 1986 as the Regional Manager of the Southeast Division, Jacksonville, Florida. In 1952 at age 18 he was inducted into the United States Army and proudly served our Country during the Korean War until 1954. On August 9th, 1952 he married the love of his life, Joan Elizabeth Bridges and they lived happily together until her death on September 9, 2013. Their children, Larry, Debbie (Harp) and Kathy (Riggs) were the light of their lives and they gave them nine Grandchildren, nineteen Great grandchildren and one Great, Great Grandchild.
He loved every one of them and always remembered them every night in his prayers. He was fond of saying that was the only way he could remember all their names because there were so many of them. After his retirement from Amaco Oil Company, he worked for Scotty’s Hardware on Lem Turner Rd. in Jacksonville until he was shot on January 2, 1998 in a store robbery. After his recovery, Emory and Joan moved to Waterford Estates, were they lived until their deaths. He was a proud resident of the community and made many friends while working at the Amenity Center as the pool monitor during the summer months. He was always quick to point out the rules of the pool and just as quick to share a story or two with anyone who would stop and talk. In November 2004 he went to work at the Publix Supermarket on County Rd 210, and worked there until his passing on January 10, 2021. He was proud of his work at Publix as a bag boy, and so eager to get to work in the morning he would leave his house at 5:30 am for a shift that started at 7 am just to sit in the parking lot for an hour until they opened the doors. He made so many friends over the sixteen years that he worked there and loved all his co-workers and his customers, as he called them. Going to the grocery store at Publix on the weekends to do our weekly shopping was always at least a two-hour trip. No matter which Publix he would go to he always knew someone there he worked with over the years, or we would run into customers he built friendships with and of course he would have to stop and talk a minute or two.
They say that the true wealth of a man is not the money in his pocket but the number of lives he touched. His legacy is what he leaves behind for those he loved and the ones that loved him, and for all those that he inspired. Emory touched the lives of so many people in his 89 years of life and was truly blessed to be loved by so many.
A graveside service will be held at a later date. Please check the website at www.hgmandarin.com for updates.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
January 20, 2021
We have been publix regulars for 15 years now and know a lot of the employees by name. Since Covid, I have been going by myself in the early morning hours. Emory has been a friend to us the whole 15 years. He would ask how our family was each visit. He would wave in parking lot if I missed him inside. When my husband wasn't with me, he would always ask how he was. He always knew the weather and was such a positive and delightful person. He never complained. He worked harder than some of the younger people and we were impressed. I always make a effort to talk with everyone I know who works there. Emory was one of my favorites. He knew to pack things light and he knew my car. Before Christmas he came up to me in the parking lot to wish me a Happy Holiday's and he told me to be safe and healthy. I wished him Merry Christmas and to be safe and healthy too. Im glad our last visit was full of Holiday spirit and love of friendship. I am sad to not see him and I miss seeing him on the bench. God needed a Angel. 😇 Rest in peace and to your family, your in our prayers. I can still see his smile and hear his sweet voice. I loved his name too. He was the only Emory I knew. I called him by name each time I saw him. Thank you Emory for helping me on my grocery trips when my husband wasn't there. I was in good hands with you. Love Colleen Hood... and hubby Sean Hood too. We both miss you.
January 15, 2021
I WORKED WITH EMORY AT SCOTTYS AT SAN JOSE AND SUNBEAM RD HE WORKED AT THE CONTRACTORS GATE .EMORY WAS TRULY A GREAT MAN HE AND I SHARED MANY STORIES HE USED TO COOK BREAKFAST FOR US ON A GRILL. HE HAD A WAY THAT MADE YOU DAY BRIGHTER. I WILL MISS HIM.
Mary Ann Forde
January 14, 2021
Emory was the sweetest man ever! Every time I would see him at Publix I would attempt to be in line on the lane he served. He would insist on taking me and my groceries to my car so we could have wonderful conversations.
Emory, may you rest in peace and I will always appreciate your kindness and stories!
My heartfelt sympathies to your family but do know, I'm sure he led a wonderful life and loved each and every one of you!
January 14, 2021
I adored Emory and Joan. We lived across the lake from them for years. Emory taught my daughter Colleen how to fish when she was only two. We spent every afternoon fishing and drinking beer together. Joan taught Colleen how to play the piano. We had so many wonderful memories with them. Emory was like a grandfather to Colleen.
I also had the pleasure of working with Emory years later at Publix. He was loved by everyone there.
He missed Joan so much. As much as we will miss Emory it makes me happy to know he’s with Joan again!
Our love to your family!!!
Terri, Colleen, Katie and Ryan
January 14, 2021
January 14, 2021