Nellie Leota (Wiltheiss) Thornton, age 96, passed away on Monday, November 4th in Erie, Pennsylvania. There she had resided with her son and his wife, Gale and Judy Thornton, until the severity of her medical conditions required care at Manchester Commons. She was the daughter of Edythe Marie (Knoop) Wiltheiss and Ernest Christopher Wiltheiss. Nellie was born in Troy, Ohio on October 14, 1923. She was married to Robert Howard Thornton of Piqua, Ohio, for 56 years, at the time of his death in 1997. Surviving are three children: Dr. Larry (Sandra) Thornton of Simpsonville, South Carolina, Honorable Tanya Thornton (Ralph) Shewell of Watkinsville, Georgia, and Gale (Judy) Thornton of Erie, Pennsylvania. Deceased at age sixteen was a son, Steven Thornton, who died of muscular dystrophy.
There are eight grandchildren surviving: Kimberly Thornton ( Rev. Stephen) Weaver of Rochester, New Hampshire; Heidi Thornton ( Rev. William) Arndt of Simpsonville, South Carolina; Kristi Shewell (Donald) Pollard of Sperry, Oklahoma; Drs. Justin and Anastasia Shewell of Athens, Georgia; Jason (Heather) Thornton of Owasso, Oklahoma; Jeremy (Jessica) Thornton of Bixby, Oklahoma; Teresa Ramey (John) Brands of Vandalia, Ohio; Michael (Lisa) Ramey of Dexter, Michigan. She is survived by eighteen great grandchildren and by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Nellie was one of fourteen children. Surviving are two sisters: Peggy Drennan of Covington, Ohio and Carla Van Hoogen of Boise, Idaho. Deceased brothers are Donald, Gene Richard, Ernest, Robert and Rev. Jack Wiltheiss. Sisters who preceded her in death are: Betty Carity, Mildred Weatherhead, Lois Boehringer, Doris Elifritz, Carol Woods and Janet Maxson.
Nellie was brought up as a farm girl. During World War II, while her husband served in the Army, Nellie worked to help the war effort by employment in a plant making airplane propellers. Years later Nellie worked for eight years as the supervisor of the ladies’ wear department of McCrory ‘s store in Troy, Ohio; and later worked in ladies’ wear at Kmart in Erie, Pennsylvania. Nellie loved to sew and to quilt, even making her daughter’s wedding gown. Quilts were often wedding and baby gifts to family. She was active in church ministries all of her adult life. Flowers and baseball she loved, but her real passion was her family.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Suber-Shively Funeral Home, 201 W. Main St., Fletcher, Ohio. The hours of visitation will be Friday, November 8th from 5-7 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Suber-Shively Funeral Home, officiated by Jason Thornton. Burial will be in Fletcher Cemetery, Fletcher, Ohio. Memorial donations may be made to the church of your choice.
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