Mr. Donald Hugh “Don” Thorne, 90, husband of Evelyn Daley Thorne and lifelong resident of Tangier Island, passed away Sunday, Oct 6, 2019, with his loving family at his side. Born July 14, 1929, on Tangier, he was the son of the late James W. Thorne and Hattie Chambers Thorne.
Mr. Thorne proudly dedicated his life in service to his country, both overseas, and at home. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he fought to preserve our freedom and protect our nation. He received the rank of sergeant, serving four years active duty and two years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Upon discharge, he began his career as a drag tender with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on the dredge “McFarland”. After 29 years with USACE, Mr. Thorne retired, only to begin the island’s first pizza delivery service, “No Name Pizza.” He enjoyed photography, calligraphy and selling his ever-popular handwritten recipes and maps. Mr. Thorne enjoyed meeting new people as an island tour guide, dazzling the tourists with his animated, and sometimes embellished, stories of Tangier.
Mr. Thorne was a member of the Swain Memorial United Methodist Church. He loved spending time with his family and friends and especially looked forward to the 4th of July and all things Christmas. He spent many days walking about the island taking pictures, a passion he passed down to a few family members. Well known for randomly singing in Spanish or adding his own spin to the classics, and occasionally spouting off a line or two in Korean, there was never a dull moment when in his presence. It may be a song, an old photograph, a handwritten recipe, Christmas decorations, or just a piece of duct tape left behind on one of the many things he “fixed,” but no matter what, Mr. Thorne’s memory will live on through the countless ways he impacted those around him.
In addition to his wife of 65 years, he is survived by his children, Donald H. “Thornie” Thorne Jr., of Tangier, Sherrie Pruitt and husband, Tony, of Onancock, Cynthia Thorne, of Tangier, and Shelia Smith and husband, Norman, of Heathsville, Va.; sisters, Ginny Marshall, Gracie Pruitt, and Alice Crockett, all of Tangier; brothers, Jack Thorne, of Tangier, and Bob Thorne and wife, Frances, of Alta Vista, Va.; grandchildren, Shanna Pruitt Watson and husband, Bradley, Brandon K. Pruitt, Zachary Thorne Smith and Luke Austin Smith; great-grandchildren, Bradley Jr., Lola Marie, William and Waylon Watson; several nieces and nephews; and many dear friends. Other than his parents, he was predeceased his sister, Isabell Thorne Parks and infant brother, Edward Thorne.
A memorial service will be held at the Swain Memorial United Methodist Church Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, at 2 p.m., with the Rev. Nona Allen officiating.
Contributions in Mr. Thorne’s memory may be made to the Swain Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 199, Tangier, VA 23440.
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements were made by the Williams Funeral Homes, Onancock and Parksley.