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James Thornton, age 92 of 4680 Pine St., Cocoa, FL., passed on Monday, May 27, 2019 at Courtenay Springs Village, Merritt Island, FL.
JAMES THORNTON (affectionately know by his family as Eurk Lee Williams Long) was born on October 2, 1926, to the late Willie Long, Sr. and Peraline Williams in Russell County, Phenix City, Alabama. He resided in what was known as Pumpkin Bottom. He received the call from “God” on Monday, May 27, 2019, at 9:39a.m. at Courtney Springs Rehabilitation and Nursing facility on Merritt Island, Florida.
James was raised as a young child by his grandparents the late Bill Long and Lula Long. He loved sharing stories about his grandfather and would beam when he talked about special moments in his childhood. Although he lived in Fort Mitchell, Alabama with his grand parents, the rest of his family lived in other areas.
His mother, Peraline Williams married Reverend John L. Williams and from this union came W. C. Jackson, Essie Williams, Girvis Lee, Sammie Williams, James Williams, and Pastor Robert Williams, Sr., Julia Echols, and Josie Mais. His father Willie Long, Sr., married Dora Long and from this union came William Long, Jr., and Lillian Long.
James confessed Christ at a young age and joined the Central Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend I. C. Cooks. Later in life he became a member of Jubilee United Church of Christ (formally Amistad St. Paul UCC) in Lanham, Maryland under the leadership of Pastor Marvin Silver.
At an early age James left home and began working for a trucking company in Fort Pierce, FL for fifteen years. He traveled to Richfield Springs, NY, Utica, NY, Connecticut, and Henderson, NC where he worked various jobs. Upon receiving notice that his mother was ill, he returned home to render care until her passing. Afterwards he continued to travel and work in other cities and finally settled in Washington, D.C. where he worked for the District of Columbia Environmental Services for 30 years.
James was a man of his word. His faith in God guided his life and influenced his work ethic as well. He received numerous awards for his sacrifice, wisdom, faith, loyalty, and integrity from the Government of the District of Columbia. These awards included Letters of Commendations, Certificates of Appreciation, Length of Service Awards, and a Meritorious Public Service Award for exhibiting the highest quality of competence, dedication and outstanding service in the community. Upon retirement from District of Columbia government, he worked at Darcars in Lanham, MD for 9 years, until his health began to fail.
During his stay in Washington, DC he found the love of his life and soulmate, Elsie Irene Seymore. On June 30, 1973 James and Elsie became one (Mr. and Mrs. James Thornton). This union afforded him four daughters: Brenda Joyce Willington, Sheila Broadwater Crews, Lisa Seymore Patrick, Pamela Thornton-Wimbush; and a son; Sunny (last name unknown).
For 43 years, James and Elsie Thornton loved God, their family, and life unconditionally and stood tall as the patriarchs of the family. The family motto, “Don’t Forget the Family Prayer” resonated throughout their life’s mission. They journeyed together and would visit families in many states and loved attending the Williams-Thomas Family Reunions and the Alma White gatherings held in Sanford, NC.
Although Maryland and Washington, DC were their residences for many years, June 2017 led them to move to Cocoa, FL with their daughter, Lisa (Ronald) Patrick and family. They were honored as Romans 13:7 tells us… “Give honor where honor is due.” Therefore, the Patricks honored and thanked their elders for paving the way and sharing their wisdom and knowledge, which impacted their family dearly.
In his later days James enjoyed spending time with the residents at Courtney Spring Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility where he received great care. His beautiful personality resonated with the staff and residents when attending activities at the facility. The staff and residents became attached to James and were sad after receiving notice of his passing.
James was predeceased by his parents, John L. and Pearline Williams and Willie Long, Sr. and Dora Long. The love of his life, Elsie Irene Thornton. One daughter: Sheila Broadwater Crews; two sons: Milton White and Sunny; Six brothers: W.C. Jackson, Girvis (Paul) Lee, Essie (Mike), James and Sammie L. Williams, and Pastor Robert Williams; two sisters: Julia Echols and Lillian Long.
He is survived by three daughters, Lisa Seymore (Ronald) Patrick of Cocoa, Florida; Brenda Joyce Willington of Columbus, GA and Pamela (Will) Thornton-Wimbush of Washington, DC; ten grandchildren, Rishawn (Antoinette) Seymore and Maurice (Shamika) Davis of Sanford, NC, Shayla (Austin) Delgado, Ronald Jr. and Brya Patrick all of Cocoa, FL; Rashumel Oxley, Marcus Bailey, and Ymani Bailey; eleven great grandchildren, Brittany, Armani, Shaynia, Joshua, Ronald Patrick III, Aiden Delgado, Jocelyn Patrick, Shelisa Delgado; two great-great grandchild, Ka’Leigh Williams; One sister, Josie Mais, and one brother, Willie Long, both of Cleveland, OH. Five sisters in law: Rosa Williams, Patterson, NJ; Katherine Johnson, Washington, DC; Mary Helen Mckoy, Annie Ruth White, Jackie Murchison, all of Sanford, NC. Son-in-law, Issac Crews of MD; brother-in-law, Pastor Larry Murchison, Sanford, NC and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and dear friends.
Arrangements By: Knotts Funeral Home, Sanford