Bruce Michael Thornton passed away at home on June 19, 2023. He was born June 23, 1952 in Tonasket, Washington to Floyd and Florence Thornton.
He graduated from Tonasket High School in 1970 and Eastern Washington State College (EWU) in 1974. Bruce participated in both cross-country and track in high school and continued cross-country through college, qualifying for the NCAA championships. He returned to Tonasket to assist the cross-country team to a state championship 2nd place in 1976 and a winning performance in 1977, posting a new record for team score.
When school funding was cut before the ’77 season, Bruce helped the team organize a relay run of 338 miles from Tonasket to Olympia to raise money for the program and highlight the lack of funding to the legislature. They were met in Olympia by Gov. Dixie Lee Ray and given a standing ovation on the floor of the Capital. Bruce felt that everyone was capable of participating in athletics and was keen to encourage them until they shared this confidence. He would tell them of his own experience of finishing last in every race as a freshman but that he became stronger each year by continuing.
Bruce met the love of his life, Sonja, at a wedding in Republic in 1979. They were married in 1980. Together they raised two children, supported many others and turned a desert rock into an oasis of fruit and beauty. Bruce worked at Work Source in Omak for 33 years. He continued to run and walk throughout his life, participating in every Bloomsday. His patience, care and sense of humor were appreciated by many. He died as he lived, a beloved child of God.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers. He will be missed by his wife, Sonja; children, Erik (Lacey), Sera (Cody); grandchildren, Quintin, Aiden, Deklan; brothers, Bob (Dewie), Dennis (Kathy) and many special nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the oncology staff in Omak, the hospice team and the many people who called and visited during his final weeks. Flowers and plants of condolence are welcome. A memorial service will take place at a later date.
Bergh Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.