Robert Leon Thornton: 1956-2020


After a hard fought 17 year battle with Scleroderma, Robert Leon Thornton, 64, of Doty Wash., peacefully went to be with Jesus on October 29, 2020, at his home and surrounded by his loved ones.

Robert was born in Lewiston, Idaho., on June 24, 1956 to Darrell and Carolyn Thornton. He was proud to be the oldest of 5 raised by the couple in the home Darrell built for them in Cardiff Spur, Idaho. Growing up in God’s country, Robert gained a love of nature, hunting, and fishing. Robert also learned the value of a hard day’s work, from the palm of your hand to the sweat of your brow. Robert graduated as a Spartan, from Timberline High in 1974, and went straight to work in the woods for Potlatch, first as a choker setter, then as a road grader operator. He first noticed the literal “girl next door” in 1973 and married the love of his life, Rebecca (McCarty) on August 14, 1976. The couple would live in Headquarters, Idaho., to raise their three children until August of 1985, when a Potlatch shutdown would force them to uproot and move to Doty, Wash. Robert was quick to find his feet as a log truck driver for Hoffman Trucking from 1985-1992. He loved the smell of the fresh rolled dirt and of the fresh cut timber, and he loved taking his children on ride-alongs in his logging truck. Robert later accepted a position driving truck for M&M Transport in 1992 where he would continue to work until his body would force him to retire in June of 2019.

Robert will be remembered by all who knew him as a kind, hardworking, dedicated, moral man of integrity. His quick wit and humor helped him juice up the many hunting, fishing, and other mischievous stories that his family and friends will retell and cherish for generations to come. He will also be remembered as a “lawn man” as he took great pride in his lawn and his bountiful and beautiful gardens.

Robert’s legacy will live on through those who have survived him: his wife of 44 years, Rebecca A. (McCarty) Thornton; her 7 siblings and their spouses and children; his children: Kelley (Matthew) Justice, Jill (Christopher) Engel, Eric (Amy) Thornton; his grandchildren: Emily, Jesse, Charlise, Allison, Madilyn, Randi, and Macy; and his siblings: Jeff Thornton, Beverly (Ray) Repass, Steven (Denise) Thornton, and Carla Thornton. Robert was blessed to have many nieces, nephews, close cousins, and aunts and uncles as well. He was reunited with his father Darrell Thornton, who passed when he was only 24, his mother Carolyn (Thornton) Erickson, and his stepfather Donald “Swede” Erickson.

Robert has requested a ceremonious family internment in the backcountry of Idaho at ‘big rock’ to be held in August of 2021. For a local gathering, please consult Becky or the kids on Facebook. Robert would like you all to know a quote that he held close to his heart:

“We’re all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house.

Birth ‘til death. We travel between the eternities.” -Robert Duval