On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, James Robert Thorne, 93, went to be with the Lord. James was born Sept. 8, 1926, to Willie and Bessie Thorne of Decatur, Mississippi. He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Virginia Horton Thorne, they were married 57 years and 10 days; his parents; his brothers, Willis Thorne of Decatur, Mississippi, and Ernest Thorne of Cantonment, Florida; a brother-in-law, Gerald Glenn; sisters-in-law, Judy, Janette, Ramona and Pat; brothers-in-law, Jerry Horton and Larry Magee; and his wife’s parents, Leon and Ollie Horton. He is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Leesa and Bobby Nolen of Fulshear, Texas and Laurie and Butch King of Grenada, Mississippi; grandchildren, Clay (Carrie) Nolen, Ashleigh (Michael) Murphey, Kaylee (Brady) Phillips, Lacey (Travis) Kleckner, Collin (Aubrey) King and Ashland King; and his great-grandchildren, Parker, Cooper, Briley, Kylie, Emma Lynn, Hall, Madalynn, Evangeline June and Eliza. He leaves behind two brothers, EL Thorne and Curtis (Nancy) Thorne of Decatur, Mississippi; one sister, Eva Jean Glenn of Decatur, Mississippi; sisters-in-law Carolyn (Dennis) Alleman of The Dalles, Oregon, Linda Magee of Jackson, Mississippi and Jenita Horton of Oakley, Illinois; and a host of nieces and nephews.
James served in the Army during WWII in the Pacific Theatre being stationed in the Philippines and Japan. After his service, he returned home to farm and continue his education. He earned his first college degree from The University of Southern Mississippi, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. He began his educational career in 1951 teaching at Callaway Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi. James met Frances, on a blind date, the first night that he worked his new job in Jackson, Mississippi. They were married on July 12, 1953. During the next several years he earned two Masters Degrees in Elementary Administration from Mississippi College and The University of Southern Mississippi. He was then promoted to Elementary Principal at Poindexter Elementary School and continued his career serving as principal at Sykes Elementary School, French Elementary School and Green Elementary School. He retired after a long successful career of educating students to be their absolute best after approximately 39 years of service. He retired in 1990.
James was an active member of his churches serving in many different roles of supporting the church. He and Frances taught Sunday School to 3-year olds for 23 years at Alta Woods Baptist Church. He also served as usher and security for many years at Alta Woods Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, and First Baptist Church in Grenada, Mississippi. He enjoyed being in Bible Study with Wayne Smith’s Sunday School Class. He was a long-time member of the Garden Club of Jackson, The Men’s Garden Club along with his wife, Cane Creek Outdoor Club, The Retired Educators Dinner Club and Linwood Hunting Club.
One of his and Frances’ great joys in life was traveling extensively around the world to places such as Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, London, Paris, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, The Islands of the Caribbean and Japan. They also traveled to almost every state in the United States of America.
James was a friend and a blessing to everyone. His stories and easy-going style made him loved as “Papa” to all that he met. He will by deeply missed by many, but he left this earth to join his lovely Frances and other family members to celebrate the Lord that he loved.
Services was held 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 8, at First Baptist Church of Grenada, Mississippi, with Dr. Jim Nunnelee and Dr. John Boler officiating. Visitation was at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. The graveside service was held in the Blue Springs Cemetery near Chunky, Mississippi. James will be honored at this time for his military service.
The family would like to thank everyone who knew James Robert Thorne for your prayers during this time. Memorials may be directed to First Baptist Church in Grenada or the Gideon Bible Ministry in memory of James Robert Thorne.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.mckibbenandguinn.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKibben and Guinn Funeral Service in Grenada, (662-307-2694).