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Memorial held for Thornton

Posted: September 29, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 29, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Walter Lawrence "Larry" Thornton  Walter Lawrence "Larry" Thornton 
Walter Lawrence "Larry" Thornton 

More than 100 well-wishers crowded together Saturday inside Chapel by the Hill at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in Newhall to honor Larry Thornton, a longtime Hart High School band teacher who died earlier this month.

To open the service, Pastor Bill Haley of First Christian Church of Canyon Country asked the mass to “let (their minds) wander through the years.”

“The most important picture of Larry today is the one you see when you close your eyes,” he told those in attendance. “Each one of your pictures is unique. Each one of you reflects a slightly different perception of Larry.”

Thornton died Sept. 5 at the age of 81 in his Valencia home after battling cancer and recovering from a stroke, which he suffered 10 years ago.

Many students from his days at Hart High School attended the memorial service Saturday.

Don Howell, Stan Lau, Mike Wood and David Stanton — former students of Thornton and 1973 graduates of Hart — gathered at the entrance of the chapel, recalling fond memories of their band teacher.

The memorial service featured friends and family who spoke and shared memories and stories to honor Thornton, as well as support his wife, Marlyn “Lyn” Thornton.

An instrumental rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” performed by Thornton’s former band mates and students, caused some to break out in tears and others to laugh fondly.

The chapel was decorated with photos of Thornton during different ages of his life. The altar, however, held Thornton’s most adored items — his trumpet, three golf clubs and his favorite hat.

Thornton’s wife, Lyn, recalled memories of her late husband playing the trumpet for the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s Community Tree Lighting festival.

“The reality of him not being here hasn’t really hit me yet,” she said.


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