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Minnie Lee Thornton

November 23, 1919 ~ September 29, 2018 (age 98)

Minnie Lee Thornton passed away on September 29, 2018 at her home in Norfolk, VA at the age of 98.


Born on November 23, 1919 in Piedmont, SC, Minnie Lee was one of thirteen children born to Foster and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Hood.  She was married for 40 years to Clyde Thornton, Sr. until his passing in 1981. To this union three children were born, Rosalyn, Clyde, Jr. and Lyonell.


Her formative years were spent in South Carolina. Though she was not able to complete her education due to the demands of the field work that required her to be out of school for half the year, she stressed the importance of education to all the young people she encountered. Minnie Lee moved to Norfolk as a young adult and was employed through 80+ years of age as a domestic worker for a number of families.


She was a faithful and active member of Rose of Sharon Baptist Church, as a Deaconess and Sunday School teacher. Even in her senior years, she would often say, “I have to pick up the elderly for church.”


Minnie Lee was a very loving and caring person and all who knew her felt the same way. Although she lived through and experienced segregation, color of skin did not matter to her; she dealt with everyone according to the person they were.


Minnie Lee was preceded in death by her husband, Clyde Thornton, Sr., daughter, Rosalyn Clarke, and son, Lyonell Thornton. Minnie Lee is survived by her son, Clyde Thornton, Jr., 10 grandchildren, Clyde Thornton III (Chrissy), Cheryl Tilghman (Stephon), Anita Thornton, Mia Smith (Jeff), Sabrina Johnson (Deon), Karen Newman (Richard), Gregory Thornton, Nicole Thornton, Katrina Turner (Curtis), Yovonda Thornton, 26 great-grandchildren, 32 great-great-grandchildren and a host of extended family and friends.

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