Mrs. Carolyn Cox Thornton, born on August 27, 1931 in Texarkana, TX, to Chesley B. and Lucie Mary Atkinson Cox, died August 31, 2020 in her home of 45 years surrounded by her family, books, cats and all else she held dear in her heart. Her family made many moves leading to her lifelong declaration that she attended six first grades and it was a wonder she could read and write! After moving so much as a child she delighted in homemaking – books, family dinners, special finds from antique and junk stores, including anything blue, pitchers, pictures and teapots. She also enjoyed her grandchildren, family pets, Christmas mornings, camp songs, foot stools, and camping at Albert Pike. We take comfort that she joins Oris Bryant Thornton, her husband and dance partner of 56 years, in heaven. We were privileged to witness their enduring love through sickness and health, along with the many ways they put each other first: Oris by dancing and Carolyn by buying him his first toy train. Carolyn showed strength throughout her life first, leaving her parents’ home after graduating from Mena High School in 1949 to attend Schumpert Nursing School in Shreveport, LA, she then worked at St. Michaels Hospital in Texarkana, before completing a degree in psychology at SMU. She later worked at Polk County Hospital as she and Oris began their lives together. She touched the lives of many students as an instructor in the practical nursing program at Red River Vo-tech School for 25 years. One of her proudest career moments was being the recipient of Hempstead County Teacher of the Year in 1991. She raised five daughters whose clothes she sewed, games she attended, heartaches she comforted and mistakes she forgave. She was a working mother who made sure her daughters “were neat and clean.” Her greatest show of strength was surviving the death of her youngest daughter, Lesley. She insisted the family attend worship the very next Sunday and continued to live her life trusting God as a faithful member of First United Methodist Church in Hope. She was a Sunday school teacher at FUMC, a longtime member of the Fidelis Sunday School Class and United Methodist Women. She was there for the births of her six grandchildren and often saved the day when their mothers were tired or overwhelmed. She had a loving lap and delighted in giving them many of their first books. The kitchen was never more fun than when each grandchild helped “Mamere” make biscuits or tea cakes. Backyard wiener roasts were her favorite and marshmallows were the most important requirement! Mrs. Carolyn was very family oriented and Atkinson family reunions at the farm, where she visited and played as a child, were the highlight of her summers. She researched her roots and studied genealogy before computers. She was proud of her family’s ancestry and loved to visit the places in which they lived. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, daughter Lesley Day Thornton, sister Loretta Cox Stuckey and a host of other family members. Although we have lost our other bookend, we thank God for her life, her grace and her strength.
Survivors include four daughters; Lucie Thornton, Laura Thornton, Lisa Delano, husband Bob, Lynne Thornton, one sister; Sylvia Hamer, six grandchildren; Leigh, Victorine, Julien, Lesliana, Claire and Hannah, two cats; Rosie, Daisy, and a host of nieces, nephews and family.
We are thankful for the love and care provided by Pattie Hanson, Shelonda Staton, Robert Wyatt, Jr. and Encompass Hospice during her final months.
Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church in Hope or to the UAHT Foundation for the Carolyn Thornton nursing scholarship.
Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Friday, September 4, 2020 at the BRAZZEL/Oakcrest Funeral home of Hope.
Funeral service will be 11:00 A.M. Saturday, September 5, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church of Hope. Burial will follow at Memory Gardens Cemetery, Hope, AR. Funeral services are under the direction of BRAZZEL/Oakcrest The Funeral Home of Hope, Eddie Brazzel Director. Online condolences: www.brazzelfuneralhomes.com.