Timothy Thornton

August 23, 2023


Thornton, Timothy

Age 74, of St. Paul Passed away Wednesday, August 23, 2023. Tim was born January 3, 1949, to Patricia (Loney) and Robert E. Thornton. He attended school at Nativity of Our Lord and Cretin High School in St. Paul before heading off to Carleton College. He met his future wife Alice in the mailroom on campus in the fall of 1968, graduating in 1971. After a particularly cold winter week, he gave up on Minnesota and headed south. He wound up in Tallahassee reading gas meters for the state. After being "asked" to leave that job, he moved on to plan B and went to law school. He enrolled at Florida State University which turned out to be an inspired pivot. While in law school, he supplemented his income at a nearby dog track. In what had already become a common theme in his life, Tim attacked law school with the force of a late summer hurricane making landfall on the Florida panhandle. He was an editor of Law Review and as he liked to remind his children he earned his degree in two years by taking summer classes and night school. While there, one St. Patrick's Day, proposed (by phone!) to Alice who was attending nursing school at the U of M. They were married December 28, 1973. For Tim, anything worth doing could always be done a little faster and a lot better. Tim landed a job in Minneapolis and the couple moved back to St. Paul where he spent the rest of his life. He had a storied career with stints at Rider Bennett, Hart Bruner O'Brien and Thornton, Briggs and Morgan, and as General Counsel of Northwest Airlines. When Northwest Airlines changed ownership in 1989, he was again "asked" to leave and he returned to Briggs and Morgan, now Taft, where he worked in complex litigation until retiring in 2019. He was a fixture at his children's sporting events and activities, often with cell phone, leather briefcase, and reams of work papers (eventually carrying an iPad, essentially just for show). He attended every baseball, softball, volleyball, and hockey game. He spent countless hours at rinks, pools, and ski hills. He loved to throw Christmas Eve parties at the family home on Pinehurst, inviting close family and friends, coworkers and people he bumped into in the downtown Minneapolis skyways earlier that day. Tim had infinite energy and enthusiasm for life, his family and his work. He traveled to all corners of the world and cherished attending the annual Stratford Shakespeare Festival with Alice, adding his daughters in later years. He loved weekends at the family cabin in Danbury, Wisconsin. Tim was an excellent joke teller with an earthy sense of humor. He put his exhaustive memory to use to conjure up the smallest details and the most arcane dates to punctuate a story. His loyalty was ironclad. His friendship could be hard won at times, but once secured, it lasted a lifetime. Tim is survived by his wife of almost 50 years Alice; son, Patrick (Molly), daughter, Martha (Justin), son, Conor (Emily), daughter, Sophia (Cameron); siblings, Tom, Patty and Jim; and grand children, Bob (12), Lucie (10), Danny (10), Rosie (7), Teddy (7), Freddy (5), Marie (5), Cyrus (4), Dorothy (2), and Timmy (1), his namesake. Mass of Christian Burial 10 am, Thursday, Aug. 31, at Church of the Assumption (51 W. 7th St.). Visitation 5-8 pm, Wednesday, Aug. 30, at O'Halloran and Murphy-St. Paul (575 Snelling Ave. S.), and 1 hour prior to start of Mass at church Thursday. Family and friends will celebrate Tim's life following the funeral. Tim will be interred at Calvary Cemetery in a private service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider a donation in Tim's name to the CurePSP organization or the PSPCBD Foundation.

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