William Clark Thornton, Sr. was the first child born of five children to the late Joseph Benjamin Thornton and Ruby Clark Thornton on November 28, 1930 in Washington DC. William grew up in Park Side and later in Northeast, DC on Todd Place. He matriculated through the Washington, DC Public School System and graduated at the age of 16 from Armstrong Senior High School.
After graduating from high school, William joined the US Army where he achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7). His time in the army took him all over the United States and abroad. Some of the places he was stationed include: Ft Leonard Wood, MO, Ft Hood, TX, Ft Bragg, NC, Fort Dix, NJ, and Ft. Meade, MD. He served in the Korean War and completed two tours in the Vietnam War where he received numerous medals and commendations including the Purple Heart and Silver Star. He taught Army ROTC at Tuskegee University and after retiring from the US Army, he joined the United States Supreme Court Police where he achieved the rank of Sergeant.
He was married to Doris Jean Blake and from their union was born William C. Thornton, Jr. (Billy) and Geoffrey Blake Thornton. He then married the late O Im Son (Connie) who he was with for 46 years until her passing in 2020. They had two daughters, Susan O Thornton and Ruby Tomiko Thornton (Bracy).
As a young child, he attended Capital View Baptist Church on Division Ave and Metropolitan AME Church. Reverend Andrew Fowler, pastor at Capital View, played an important role in developing his faith in God. William was a member of Grace Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and he attended every Sunday that he was able.
When William retired from the United States Supreme Court, he didn’t stay retired for long. He went back to Ft. Meade where he became a bagger part-time. When he finally retired for good, he devoted his time to his family. He went fishing, hunting, and he loved tending to his garden and his animals. He was a member of the Ft. Meade Rod and Gun Club where he helped organize crab feasts, oyster roasts, fishing rodeos/derbies, and Christmas Parties for children. He liked to visit family in West Virginia and Alabama, and he liked to play his records.
William C. Thornton, Sr. transitioned on June 7, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Ruby Thornton, brother, Joseph Benjamin (Bennie) Thornton, and wife, Im Son (Connie). He leaves to celebrate his life children - William Jr. (Little Billy), Geoffrey (Camille), Susan, and Ruby (Alex Bracy); grandchildren - Kawaunda Thornton, Raqeeb (Dionne) Thornton, Mylene (Sean) Sanford, Rashida Thornton, Tomiko Mosby, William Diggs, Melvin (Tre’) Diggs III, Camille Thornton, Miyoko Mosby, Adrian and Brianda Bracy; great-grandchildren - Malina and Tairan Thornton, Khaleo and Theo Farrell, Jalin and Jasaun Hodge and Ny’Miyah Bracy; great-great grandchildren - Bella and Naomi Morgan and Allana Thornton; his loving sisters - Sybil Garrett, Barbara Jamison, Oscie Day, and a host of other relatives and friends.