On June 18, 2005, long-time resident Neil Thornton passed away peacefully at the age of 72 with his family at his side in the Chilliwack Hospital. He was born March 28, 1933 in Chilliwack to John and Evelyn Thornton.
Neil was a member of the pioneer Thornton family which settled the Vedder and Promontory area in the late 1800’s. He was the great-grandson of John Morton. Morton was one of the “Three Green Horns”. In 1862, they settled 500 acres of downtown Vancouver of which included Stanley Park. Neil lived and worked most of his life in the Chilliwack area.
He started his career at a young age in the logging and highway construction industry. In 1967, Neil started up his own welding and repair business out of a small shop in Vedder Crossing. In 1972 he was able to build a bigger and better shop and have a few employees. For Neil, repairs in the logging industry entailed very long and odd hours — some of these in the remote mountains. He also had no hesitation on going into small dark crawl spaces to thaw frozen water pipes in the winter.
The softer side of Neil came out when a bicycle peddle needed to be welded. He’d ponder the problem, then do it and take no payment.
Neil’s past-time included being an active member with the Vintage Car Club of Canada. He and Eleanor enjoyed many outings in the 1930 Model A and the 1957 Metropolitan. Pop also started a new career later in life keeping track of five letters and 75 numbers daily from 11:30 – 12:30.
Neil is survived by his love wife of 46 years, Eleanor; son, Wes (Faye); and granddaughters: Shannon, Candace and Kimy; daughter: Susan (Larry) Payne; and grandchildren: Danny, Bill and Becky (Sean) Bornmann; and his great-grandson: Clayton whom he called “Trouble”. Also survived by his sister: Sylvia (Keith) Murray; and nephew, Ian (Shannon); brother: Grant of Agassiz, Aunt Viola (Denis) Boyd (Thornton), and his dog Ziggy.
The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Richmond, Dr. (Mark) Greidanus and the Chilliwack ICU staff for their care of our loved one.
An open house will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2-4 p.m. at his home in Ryder Lake.
Private Interment is planned as per his wishes. If family and friends so desire, donations to the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary would be appreciated.