Thomas Edward Thornton Jr.

November 2, 1949October 8, 2011

Thomas E. Thornton, Jr. Milford – Thomas E. Thornton, Jr., 61, died peacefully with courage and dignity at his home on October 8, 2011. He was surrounded with the love of his family. He was born on November 2, 1949, the beloved first son of Thomas Sr. and Gloria (Michaud) Thornton. He graduated as class president from Old Town High School in 1968. While there he met and eventually married his high school sweetheart, Brenda Yerxa. They shared forty wonderful years of marriage and friendship. Tom’s love of community led him down many paths. He was a past president and Paul Harris recipient of the Old Town Rotary Club. He served on the Small Business Administration, the Katahdin Area Council of Boy Scouts and the Maine Rural Development Authority. He was a trustee of Husson University and on the Board of Directors of Machias Savings Bank. Tom was a true entrepreneur. His start in business was at Thorntons’ Amoco and Interstate Batteries, where he formed many lasting friendships. His proudest accomplishment was being President of Freightliner of Maine and working with his children to form a family business. He measured his success by the many dedicated employees who became his “Freightliner family”. Many of his business ventures were shared with his loyal partners and friends Jack, Joe, Bernie and Charlie. Tom had a great love of nature. He felt most at home spending time “Upta Camp”. He had the privilege of operating Nugent’s Camps on the Allagash Waterway for three years with family and partners Stella and Rob. Many happy hours were spent out in his workshop “puttering” on his latest project. He was a wonderful husband and a great father to his three children. He will always be remembered for his sense of patriotism, his love of community and his quick wit. His stories and jokes will be missed at many gatherings of family and friends. In addition to his mother, Gloria and wife, Brenda, he is survived by three children and their spouses; Nicole Madden and her husband Derek, Toby Thornton and his wife Melanie, and Lee Thornton and his wife Julie. He was a proud Papa to Justin, Chase and soon to be born, Ford Thomas. He is also survived by three brothers; Peter and his wife Chris, Michael and his wife Ann, and David and his wife Kim. He was Uncle Tommy to Whitney and Shane, Kate and David, Michele and Doug, Rachel and Eric, Daniel and Ashley, Josh and Kelsey, Richard and Gloria, Meghan, Brittany and Jeff, and Raekel and Freddie. His nieces and nephews gave him many great-nieces and great-nephews whom he loved dearly. He was predeceased by his father, Thomas E. Thornton, Sr., his mother-in-law and father-in-law Dorothy and Maynard Yerxa, and brother-in-law, Stanley Yerxa. He was a great son, brother, husband, father, Papa, uncle, cousin, and a friend to all. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 1pm on Friday, Oct. 14, at Holy Family Church, 429 Main St., Old Town. All are invited to a light luncheon following the service at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 5 Gilman Falls Ave., Old Town. The burial will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any charitable donations in Thomas’ honor, be made to the Maine Youth Fish and Game Association c/o William Osborne, Treasurer, 1242 Essex St., Bangor, ME 04401. Notes of Condolences may be made at


  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, October 14, 2011
  • Luncheon Friday, October 14, 2011

Thomas Edward Thornton Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Gary Savignano

November 14, 2011

I did not know Tom as long as many others but feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him while working on the 100th anniversary "Wing Ding" for the Boy Scouts! Tommy was a true Maine classic. My sympathies to your family at this time.

natasha sala

November 11, 2011

I am the daughter of Vern and Karen Cunningham
I am truly and deeply sorry for your loss. Some of my favorite childhood memories are snow mobiling and ice fishing at camp with Tommy, you, and kids. I will always cherish these memories forever. Even though I live far away, my thoughts are with you and your family. Stay strong and hang in there.

October 18, 2011

It seems like yesterday that Tommy was opening holes in opposing defensive lines while playing guard on the OTHS football team.
RIP my man- you are gone but not forgotten.

Penny Plourde

October 18, 2011

Tom's Family, we met while serving on the SBA Advisory board. We were the subcommittee that annually chose the Small Business winners from Maine to National.It was serious business and Tom took to the challenge like a fish to water. He respected these emerging businesses, remembering his humble beginnings, he praised the honorees with good wishes and energized them. He always had the same word of advise "be happy in your life." I feel Tom was happy. I miss his smile and laughter. May you all be comforted in the knowledge that Tom was loved by many.

John Miller

October 18, 2011

To Tom's family, I extend my deepest sympathy. I remember him as a terrific guy, talking with him at the truck dealership about fishing and his outboard motors. He loaned me his pickup to go for a Dysarts breakfast many times while my truck was repaired.. One time I took his pickup to a town near Ellsworth to pick up my new cocker spaniel puppy, Maggie. Over the years, Mag and I stopped to see the girls and Tom. They loved her and Tom would pick her up and hug her. Of course many treats were enjoyed. My prayers are with all of you-God bless you John Miller Chapman, Maine

Waneta Archer

October 17, 2011

Dearest Brenda and Family,
Words cannot describe the deep sadness we at Freightliner of Maine, feel for the loss of such a wonderful husband, father, son, friend, boss and so much more. Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of you in this time of sorrow. Tom was a wonderful person!
We the people at Freightliner lost not only a great President, but also a great leader and an inspiration to each and everyone of us. Tom's passing will leave a void in all our lives and in the hearts of all that knew him, both from a personal and professional standpoint.
People always say that the mark of a man is what he leaves behind, but we had the great privilege to see Tom's mark through every interaction we had with him. He lived his life with a mighty and powerful spirit and took every opportunity to show his respect to others. The love he had for his family, friends and community came though in every word he spoke.
Even in death, we all share a great admiration for Tom and he will always remain very alive in our memories. Tom Thornton, a great man that will be missed!
May he rest in eternal peace.

Cindy Frost

October 17, 2011

Brenda and family,
It was an honor to meet Tom and your family. The manner in which he lived his life is an inspiration to many. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Cliff, Sue, & Kimberly

October 17, 2011

Peter, Chris, and Family,
We are so very sorry for the loss you have had with Tom passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of the family. Love,

Gary Greenleaf

October 17, 2011

To Brenda and family. So sorry on hearing of Tommy's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jim and Launna Baal

October 16, 2011

Tom will be greatly missed. We will miss his personality, generousity, words of wisdom and sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.