ANN FRANCES THORNTON MAY 2, 1923 - OCTOBER 19, 2018
Ann Frances Thornton, 95, of Merced, passed away on October 19, 2018, surrounded by her children. A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, greatgrandmother, and friend to many, Ann had a quick wit and the special gift of making everyone feel comfortable in her presence.
Born on May 2, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois, to Patrick and Ann Stapleton, Ann was the third of seven children in a family that celebrated their Irish heritage which Ann was proud of her entire life. Ann graduated from St. Casimir Catholic High School and shortly thereafter met the love of her life, Jewell Francis Thornton, at a movie theater. They married in January, 1943, in Silver Spring, Maryland, where Jewell was stationed with the US Navy. During Jewell’s service, they were also stationed in San Francisco, California, where they fell in love with the Golden State. When the opportunity to move from Chicago to California arose through Jewell’s job at the telephone company, they jumped at the chance. In 1952, Ann and Jewell and their three young children settled in Merced. They welcomed two more children, and all five children attended Our Lady of Mercy School, where Ann was very involved in school activities and functions. Ann was a woman of strong faith and a member of OLM/St. Patrick’s parish for the duration of her life.
During her early years in Merced, Ann worked as waitress at Reinero’s and the Joaquin Club, and later as a sales assistant at Stefani’s – all opportunities for Ann’s charm and wit to shine. Ann volunteered for years at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop, which her family referred to as “Nana’s Boutique,” as she was known to procure several items for her children and grandchildren.
Ann was an avid reader, and she loved going to the movies and playing card games. In her later years, she never missed a Bingo game. Known for her legendary hamburgers, gravy, and love of Dove ice cream bars, no one ever left Ann’s table hungry. Ann loved getting manipedis and did not shy away from bold nail colors. Ann always had fun, loved to laugh, and regularly captivated her family and friends with hilarious stories.
Ann is preceded in death by her parents, Patrick and Ann Stapleton; husband, Jewell Thornton; infant son, Michael; brothers, Tom and Jim Stapleton; sisters, Patricia Tebeau and Loretta Graber; and son-in-law, Tom Ferrari. Long the beloved matriarch of her family, Ann is survived by her children, Don Thornton, Marcia Ferrari (Chris Tomford), Diane Pappas (Paul), all residents of Merced; Therese Stevens (Clark) of Medford, Oregon; and Jim Thornton (JoEllen) of Lincoln, California; 12 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; sister, Mary Burns of Phoenix, Arizona; and brother Jack Stapleton of Chicago, Illinois; several nieces and nephews; and numerous friends. Ann will be dearly missed by her family and friends, especially the “Curves Girls”. Ann was a resident of Park Merced Assisted Living for the past four years, where she made several wonderful friends and was lovingly cared for by the Park Merced staff. Ann’s family wishes to thank Hinds Hospice and the Park Merced staff for the exceptional care provided to Ann during her final days.
A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 459 W 21st St, Merced, on Saturday, November 3, 2018, at 9am, with the rosary to start at 8:30am. Interment will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park located at 1480 B Street, Merced, California 95341. Contributions in Ann’s memory can be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, 131 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340; the OLM School Foundation, PO Box 3621, Merced, CA 95344; the National Shrine of St. Jude Claretian Missionaries, 205 West Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60606; or New Beginnings for Merced County Animals, PO Box 1045, Winton, CA 95388.