Mary Christine Smeath Thornton passed away on February 22, 2022, in Grantsville, Utah, after a battle with dementia. A beautiful blend of grace and strength, Mary was born in Provo, Utah to George and Mary Smeath exactly 81 years earlier, on February 22, 1941. She married her sweetheart, Richard Keith Thornton Sr., on June 1, 1964, in the Salt Lake City Temple, and led a life full of family, hard work, helping others, and teaching by example.
Mary earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University. She was a talented writer and editor, and had an entrepreneurial mind and spirit, which she passed on to many of her children. In addition to being a full-time mother, she took on the challenge of purchasing and serving as editor of the Grantsville Gazette for several years, with the help of her husband and children, and talented colleagues who became dear friends.
Mary thrived on beauty and found it everywhere around her—music, nature, and especially in people. She had a gift for focusing on the good in others, and made each person with whom she interacted feel special and loved. Together with her husband, Mary spent her adult life enhancing the lives of others, including family, friends, neighbors, and those in need. Mary was an intentionally happy person; she chose happiness regardless of her circumstances, and when asked “How are you?” would generally reply, “I’m happy, thank you” with her trademark smile.
She loved puzzles and games, fishing (a sport she learned to love from frequent fishing trips with her parents and two younger sisters, but couldn’t persuade her children to embrace), music (she loved to play the piano, and seldom missed a weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast), tomatoes (her gardens always included a heavy sprinkling of tomato plants), and good conversations held while sitting on the side porch enjoying the view.
After the death of her husband Richard, Mary married Ascencion “Jim” Vera and enjoyed several happy years of travel, new adventures, and treasured companionship with him in the later years of her life. Jim and his family were a loved and happy addition to her life.
She is survived by her siblings Sue (Dale) Carlsen and Fran Smeath; children Mary Lynn (Will) Riggs, Richard Thornton Jr., Debbie (Gordon) Mortensen, Donald Thornton, Sharon (Micah) Montgomery, Carol Thornton, Janet (Scott) Liddiard, and Kolakhane (Phonethip) Phetmysai; 27 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband Richard.
Our deep sense of loss is balanced by the joy of knowing she is reunited with loved ones who passed before her.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the LDS Church meetinghouse at 81 Church Street, Grantsville, UT, 84029, with a viewing prior to the funeral from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow at the Grantsville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Diamond Jane’s Assisted Living Center in Grantsville, Utah. (Contact: Tricia Smith)
Special thanks to Diamond Jane’s Assisted Living Center, Harmony Hospice, Memorial Mortuaries, and family, friends and neighbors for their loving care.
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