Cover photo for Michael Matthew Thornton's Obituary

Michael Matthew Thornton

January 25, 1955 — August 10, 2023


Michael Matthew Thornton

Michael Matthew Thornton, born January 25,1955, in Minneapolis MN, died peacefully at home in Durango Colorado, August 10, 2023. Michael, also known as Mike, Thorny, Padge, is survived by his wife Diane (Phillips), brother Jay, sons Sean and Patrick, and beloved dog, Whiskey. Maybe he was born a century (or two) too late, but he was always ready to help you with anything you needed, he could fix pretty much anything, and his dry wit would have you looking for the twinkle in his eye. He enjoyed historical reenactments (rendezvous). He made sure every detail of his clothing along with his accoutrements was period correct. He excelled
at anything he put his mind to including shooting, ice hockey, mountain biking, blacksmithing, and sewing. He loved to pass this knowledge on to anyone who showed interest, but would never force it on someone.

Mike grew up in Southern California, right near Disneyland, which he would always list as one of his favorite places. He was the oldest of three brothers. They all played sports and got into the usual mischief. Mike went on to play semi-pro hockey, both on ice and roller hockey, and worked in the printing industry as a stripper (look it up ;)). He and Diane met in a chance encounter at the King’s Head pub in Santa Monica, CA, and their first date was a mountain bike ride.

Mike and Diane married in 1992, and moved to Durango in 1994, so that Diane could train and race mountain bikes. He traveled and supported Diane at the races during the summers and worked for the City of Durango during the off season. Their first son Sean was born in 1999, and Patrick followed in 2003. Mike was a devoted father. He loved doing various projects with
the boys, patiently letting them make mistakes and figure things out on their own.

Mike was steadfastly involved in the Colorado Mounted Rangers, and later the La Plata County Mounted Patrol, a volunteer group who work with law enforcement and search and rescue. He was always willing to lend a helping hand, no matter how hard the task might be. He “retired” in 2021, and worked at Pueblo Community College in Durango as a security guard in the evenings. He loved spending time with family and friends, shooting, especially long distance, archery, and riding his ebike with Diane.

His service to his family, friends and community will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

Memorial service is August 27, 2023, 4-7pm, at River Bend Ranch, 27846 Hwy 550, Durango CO 81301.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to La Plata County Mounted Patrol, and in keeping with old west traditions, mail by Pony Express to PO Box 3352, Durango CO 81302.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael Matthew Thornton, please visit our flower store.


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