Obituary: Tony R. Thornburg
10/14/1941 – 3/22/2010
Tony Ralph Thornburg was a man of many parts and talents. He would tell you he was trilingual, speaking English, Spanish and Okie. He was a musician, singing at every party and playing the tuba and guitar by ear. He wrote, directed and acted in plays for almost 50 years. He was an artist skilled in oils, water colors and graphics. But most of all, he was dedicated to the education system. He said, “I never felt I met a student that I couldn’t teach.” Over the years, he reached out and made a difference in lives of over 600 students.
He was born in Oklahoma, at his grandmother’s house Oct. 14, 1941. His life of chasing illusive dreams led him from Oklahoma to marching with the Lodi High School band in Disneyland’s’ opening day parade. He began teaching in California in 1963, roaming from Amador County, overseas to Venezuela then back home again to Calaveras County. After earning his Master’s Degree and Administration credential in 1978, he continued in Education Administration in Monterey, Kings and Merced counties. Finally retiring in 2000 and moving to Dayton, Nev., in 2003, to focus on his love of theatrics and travel.
He spent the last years of his life doing the things he loved most, traveling, writing and directing plays, teasing his children and grandchildren and living each day to its fullest. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 46 years, five children, nine grandchildren, his father, brother and sister.
Donations can be made in his name to the American Cancer Society. Services will be held at the Senior Center, 320 Old Dayton Valley Road, in Dayton, 1-4 p.m., Saturday. FitzHenry’s Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for arrangements.