Elizabeth E. Thornton, a former school librarian, died on Saturday, July 13, 2019. She was 92.
She was born on Nov. 17, 1926 in Philadelphia to the late Lemuel L. Thornton and Lillian Clark. She was educated in the Philadelphia public school system where she attended Martha Washington Elementary School and the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.
Thornton was employed as a seamstress at the Philadelphia Quartermaster. She was known among her neighbors to have a warm, adoring and nurturing nature with children. Because of her love for children, she then became a babysitter in her home for her neighbors. She then volunteered at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic School in various capacities for more than 46 years until her health prevented her from continuing her position.
Sister Sally Daly, the school librarian, noticed Thornton’s talents and work ethic while she was volunteering at Our Mothers of Sorrows. Sister Daly, who mentored her in the skill of library science, was instrumental in her employment at Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Thornton loved her job as a librarian and the children at Ryan. She was a tireless worker and highly respected employee for 25 years. She was part of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association in which she reviewed, donated books and developed the school’s library even after she stopped working.
At an early age, Thornton was baptized and confirmed in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Years later, she joined Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and then Our Mother of Sorrows Church.
At the urging of her best friend, Clara, she joined All Souls Episcopal Church for the Deaf and was a member until its closing. Thornton served in the Vestry, the sign language choir and represented her church at the Episcopal conventions and the Deaf Episcopal conferences. For a brief period, she attended Christian Stronghold Church.
Thornton was very protective of her two children and wanted them to succeed. She instilled in her children the importance of attending church and hearing God’s word.
She loved sports. As a young girl, Thornton played basketball and received her letter in basketball while attending the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. She attended her great, great-nephew’s football and basketball games and watched pro golf on TV.
Thornton had a love of dance that started early in life. She was chosen in the PSD yearbook as the “Best Jitterbug.” She participated in line dances offered by In The Dance, LLC on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Thornton was front and center for any and all worship services involving praise dancers, especially if her daughter was one of the dancers.
She enjoyed traveling and dining out after church with her best friend, Clara.
She was preceded in death by her sister, Senia Jordan.
She is survived by: her children, Bruce (Deborah) and Sheila; grandson, Matthew; great-granddaughters, Jaeda, Alyra and Maci; brother, Lemuel Thornton Jr.; niece, Charlotte Jones; grandniece, Michelle Hicks (Gerald); grandnephew, Jeffrey Jones (Rasheeda) and other relatives and friends.
Services were held July 23 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1831 Bainbridge St. Viewing was at 10 a.m. Mass followed at 11 a.m.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.