Dixie Thornton ~ In Our Care ~ February 3, 2023

Dixie Rose Thornton

1937 – 2023

Maysville, Missouri……Dixie Rose (Howell) Thornton, age 85, passed away February 3, 2023 at Riverside Place in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Dixie was born February 6, 1937 in rural Gentry County near Albany, Missouri.  Her parents were Claude Allen Howell and Opal Ferne (Younger) Howell. When Dixie was still young, the family moved to a farm in DeKalb County near Maysville, Missouri.

Dixie attended Sunnyside Grade School and Maysville High School.

After graduating high school in 1955, she worked in Kansas City for the Great Lakes Pineline Company in the communication department.

In 1957, she married Tommy Wayne Thornton, her high-school sweetheart.  He was studying agriculture at University of Missouri in Columbia.  She worked in Columbia with an MU outreach program that supported rural newspapers.  After Tommy graduated in 1958, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.  They were a military family for the next 21 years.

Dixie was mother to Anna Janeese (Thornton) Pate who preceded her in death and Philip James Thornton of Beverly, Mass.

In 1961, the family was stationed in Germany, as the Berlin Wall closed  official access to the West.  Dixie worked with her local church to provide supplies and assistance to refugees from East Germany.

While living in Enterprise, Alabama, in the 1970’s, Dixie taught English as a second language to Korean immigrants, many of whom became life-long friends. 

Tommy and Dixie retired from military life in 1979 and moved to Maysville to live on the farm that had been owned by Tommy’s  grandfather.  They raised registered Black Angus cattle and became involved in the local community.

Dixie enjoyed keeping touch with her friends while selling AVON for over 25 years in the Maysville area.

Dixie was alway active in her local Southern Baptist Church communities.  She was involved in the Woman’s  Missionary Union (WMU) at the local church, the Baptist Association, and the state WMU levels.  She led a Royal Ambassadors group and taught a young adults Sunday School class.  She displayed her greatest talents a teacher of 4- and 5- year olds in the Sunbeams and Mission Friends programs and in their Sunday School classes.  At least two of the preschoolers who called her “Miss Dixie” grew up to become missionaries.  Hundreds of other youngsters enjoyed singing, playing, listening to stories and making crafts in her classroom.  Dixie served at the WMU State Mission Friends Representative in both Alabama and Missouri.

Dixie and Tommy lived in Columbia, MO; Lawton, Okla.; San Marcus, Tex,; Enterprise, Ala.; Bad Kreuznach, Germany; El Paso, Tex.; Mineral Wells, Tex.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Schweinfurt, Germany; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Springfield, Mo; and Maysville, Mo.

She will be missed by Tommy; Janeese’s sons, Adam Gentry Pate and Andrew Jamison Pate of Florida; Philip and his wife, Karen Kristine (Harvey) Thornton; Kaen and Philip’s daughters, Lydia Janeese Thornton and Nola Rose Thornton of Beverly, Mass.

Along with her parents and daughter, Dixie was preceded in death by Janeese’s husband, Daniel Pate; Dixie’s brother, Vyron Howell; and Dixie’s two sisters, Vyrl Ann Shackelford and Betty Colleen Brown.

Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Turner Family Funeral Home in Maysville, with burial following at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Maysville. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, at the funeral home. 

In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Maysville First Baptist Church Mission Vision Team. Online condolences: www.turnerfamilyfuneral.com


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