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Obituary for Eleanor Thornton

Eleanor Thornton
Eleanor Jane Thornton, an Elberton native and longtime banking officer in Atlanta, died Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 26, 2012, of respiratory failure at Elbert Memorial Hospital. She was 90 years old.

Thornton was a graduate of the Elberton school system and the Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, now Georgia College & State University. She also studied business at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

As a young career woman, she went to work at the Citizens & Southern National Bank at Atlanta, a Georgia institution of the era and soon the South's largest bank. Rising to a position on the administrative staff of bank president Mills B. Lane Jr., she went on to serve in various officer roles with the company until her retirement in the mid-1980s.

In Atlanta, she enjoyed The Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Crackers and later the Braves baseball teams, and was a member of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church. She traveled to Europe, Scandinavia, Mexico, Hawaii and Russia, among other destinations.

In 1996, she was a volunteer at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and for many years attended practice rounds for The Masters golf tournament in Augusta.

She moved back to her hometown of Elberton in 1997. She was a member of Elberton First Baptist Church, and also a supporter of St. Alban's Episcopal Church.

In recent years, she resided at Magnolia Estates assisted living in Elberton.

Thornton's father was William T. Thornton, a cotton broker and noted local church singer. Her mother, Willie Rich Thornton, taught school locally for three decades, taught piano on weekday afternoons and was the organist and pianist at Elberton First Baptist. Later in life, as a widow, her mother married local dentist Dr. Quince Logan.

Her Thornton grandparents were William M. Thornton and Sarah Lucinda Jones Thornton of Elberton. William Thornton served from 1862 until the close of the Civil War in the 38th Georgia Regiment of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, being listed as a sergeant on the surrender rolls at Appomattox. Later in life, he was Elbert County treasurer.

Her Rich grandparents were the Rev. Dr. William Houston Rich and Mattie Eleanor Haynes Rich of Elberton. Dr. Rich pastored Elberton First Baptist.

Thornton was preceded in death by her only sibling, younger sister Marion Thornton English.

Among her survivors are her niece and nephew, Marion English Powers of Vestavia Hills, Ala., outside Birmingham, and Dewey W. English Jr. of Spanish Fort, Ala., outside Mobile.

A memorial service for Eleanor Jane Thornton will be Saturday, April 20, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. in the Old Sanctuary at First Baptist Church of Elberton.

Share your stories and photos in Miss Thornton's Book of Memories online at

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory, Elberton is respectfully in charge of arrangements for Eleanor Jane Thornton.

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