Cover photo for Walter Mansfield Thornton's Obituary
Walter Mansfield Thornton Profile Photo
1927 Walter 2020

Walter Mansfield Thornton

October 23, 1927 — January 4, 2020

Walter Thornton was one of the rarest of creatures – an Atlanta native who was born and raised here.

He and his late wife Alcie were members of Columbia Presbyterian Church, where they sang in the choir. They were also members and past co-presidents of the Decatur Civic Chorus. Between Walt and Alcie, a houseful of Thorntons were likely to burst into song together at pretty much any moment startling countless boyfriends and girlfriends. After a while, they figured out which songs they had to learn and which was a one-time thing.

Walt retired from Pitney Bowes, where he fixed countless postage machines, 30 years ago. One day, when he was fixing a paper jam at the DeKalb County Tag Office, they offered him a job. That way he’d be there for the next paper jam. He worked at the tag office for another decade and remembers his co-workers well, including one who could predict the exact number of tags they needed at any given time.

He recalls that Alcie “set her cap for him” when she was still a teenager. They married right after she graduated from high school and started their family a year later, while he was stationed in Greenville, S.C. with the Air Force. They moved back to Atlanta and lived in Avondale Estates, where they raised their four children, for almost six decades. They also had several children-in-law, seven grandchildren plus several great-grandchildren.

Walt was a great dad and granddad. He was a scoutmaster and continued long after his boys outgrew it. He also pulled the curtain and worked backstage for his daughters’ ballet recitals, again continuing long past their involvement. He also picked up his grandson Matt from school sometimes so Alcie could work with him on his handwriting. He was never at a loss for “dad jokes” - those corny, G-rated stories that made everyone giggle and groan in spite of themselves.

In addition to the family activities, he was also active in the community. He belonged to the Avondale Men’s Club and, for some reason, still remembered the most boring presentations instead of the most interesting. He and Alcie were also in the Avondale Police Citizen’s Patrol, driving slowly through their neighborhood in a marked car, keeping an eye on things. He once rode in a hot air balloon – sponsored by a dentist and shaped like a tooth. He took a ride in a chase car that turned into an exciting day-long adventure ending with dinner with the crew.

He made the most amazing corn pudding for holiday dinners. And even though he was diabetic, he still enjoyed dessert. It didn’t seem to hurt him much, though, since he lived to be 92. He was always a warm calming influence, regardless of the situation. His friends and family will mourn him, yet will always be happy and grateful that he came into our lives.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Mansfield Thornton, please visit our flower store.


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