James G. Thornton

NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, MI – James G. Thornton, age 84, of Negaunee Township, passed away Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at UP Health System – Marquette, in the loving, comforting care of his family. Born June 16, 1937, in National Mine, a son of John and Irma (Guy) Thornton, Jim was raised for the first couple of years in Ohio, where his father was employed. When he was about four years old, the family relocated to Marquette, where Jim grew up. In school, he was involved in football, baseball, and hockey, all interests he maintained throughout his lifetime. At age 16, like so many other young men his age, he misstated his age and entered the US Navy at age 16. Jim served in the Navy for four years during which time he completed his high school requirements and received his GED. Upon receiving his honorable discharge, he returned to the Marquette area and began the journeyman program for becoming an ironworker. For 62 years, Jim was employed as an ironworker out of Ironworker’s Union Local 8, working in a variety of locations throughout the country. Regionally, he was involved in work at the Mackinac Bridge, Marquette Branch Prison, Northern Michigan University, the Dome, Michigan Tech, and the Tilden Mine. He retired in 2001. Jim enjoyed trout fishing, hunting, going to his camp in the woods, and bird hunting. For several years he raised beagles for hunting purposes and was a talented woodworker and carpenter in his spare time.

Jim is survived by his wife of 50 years, the former Diana DeLeo, whom he married, September 3, 1971; his daughter, Terri (Josh) Bower of Negaunee Township; sons, Stan (Monica) Brownell of Katy, TX, Steve Brownell of Waupun, WI, Carl (Chris) Brownell of Gwinn, and Brian Brownell of Tiverton, RI; his grandchildren, Nick, Stephanie, Austin, Kelsey, Kylie, Morgan, Matthew, Nichole, Brandi, Brenden, Kage, Taylor, Bella, Sydney, Kolton, and Kenadie; and a great-grandson, Thornton.

In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by a son, Wellington “Buster” Brownell; grandchildren, Kasey, Kherington, and Bradley; and his brother, John “Jack” Thornton.

Friends may call at Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services on Thursday, October 7, beginning at 11:00 am until the time of service at 1:00 pm., Rev. Greg Heikkala will officiate. Interment, with veterans honors, will be made in the Holy Cross Cemetery.

Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhans en.com.