John McRae Thorlton
Thorlton, 68, Estero, Fla., died Sunday at his residence Sunday from complications due to a lengthy illness caused by Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a rare progressive disease that causes scaring of the lungs.
A Greencastle native, he was a graduate of Greencastle High School Class of 1957 and a 1961 graduate of DePauw University where he received degrees in English and psychology.
He joined the Western Electric Co. after graduation, and shortly thereafter entered the U.S. Navy in their Officer Candidate Program at Newport, R.I. He was commissioned ensign in 1962 and served four years on active duty as a communications officer in Hawaii and aboard ship during the Johnston Island Pacific Nuclear Tests. He remained on active reserve status for another six years, retiring with rank of lieutenant commander.
He returned from military service to Western Electric in 1966, where he moved up the ranks and was relocated around the country several times to Chicago, Indianapolis, Seattle and Denver. He retired in 1991 after 30 years of service from then AT&T Network Systems (now Lucent Technologies) as Marketing Director in Morristown, N.J.
In 1993, he joined DePauw University as Director of Alumni Relations, returning to his alma mater with his wife, Dianne Harrison Thorlton, who was also a DePauw University graduate to lead the university
s alumni program until his retirement in 2000. He and his wife are members of the University
s W.C. DePauw Society. In 2006, DePauw Alumni Association presented him with its Community Leadership Award, given for significant contributions to their communities and associations after graduation. He was active in the Naples DePauw Alumni Club.
Thorlton and his wife moved to Florida in 2001, after their retirement, and he was very active in their new community. He was a founding member of the Copperleaf Foundation, which has raised more than $100 thousand for Lee County (Fla.) non-profit agencies since its founding in 2003.
Surviving are his wife, Dianne Harrison Thorlton; son Tim Thorlton, Fall City, Wash.; daughter Kristine Thorlton Batross and husband Michael, Danville, Calif.; sister Carole Thorlton Piech Gorsich and husband Robert, Napervillle, Ill.; four grandchildren, two nieces and a nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be conducted Friday at Joanne
s House at Hope Hospice, Bonita Springs, Fla.
Remembrances may be made to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis at www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/donate.htm, to DePauw University or to the Copperleaf Golf Club Foundation, designated for Joanne
s House at Hope Hospice, Bonita Springs, Fla., 34135.