Rev. Dr. Larry Lawrence Thornton
November 2, 1935 - November 13, 2021
Larry was born in Chillicothe, Ohio and raised in Circleville, Ohio with four sisters. He attended Ohio University in Athens, OH from 1953 to 1957, and graduated with a BA in History with high honors. He married Julia Ann Kuckherman in 1956 in Dayton, OH. From 1957 to 1960, Larry attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL, receiving his Masters of Divinity.
Larry was ordained in 1960 by the Presbyterian Church (USA). From 1960 to 1963, he served as the Pastor of his first church in Waterman, IL. This was a small town rural church, with a single pastor and 100 members. He served as an Assistant Pastor in Elmhurst, IL from 1963 to 1967. This was a suburban church with multiple church staff and 1,200 members. Larry then felt called to become involved with a church located in the inner city. He accepted an Associate Pastor, Minister of Education position at First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, CA from 1967 to 1972. This was a downtown, multiple church staff with 1,200 members. While in Oakland, he was also the Head Master and Music Director at the St. Paul's Day School, grades K through 4 with 200 students. The Midwest called him back, so from 1972 to 1981 he was Associate Pastor, minister of education at Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO. This was an urban church with multiple staff and 2,000 members. During his time at Second Church from 1978 to 1981, Larry completed his Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. From 1981 to 1994, he served as Pastor at the Leawood Presbyterian Church in Leawood, KS. This was a single pastor, suburban church with 300 members. Before retiring, Larry was called as an Associate Pastor to the Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, MN from 1994 to 2001. This was a large, suburban church with 4,400 members.
Larry was also involved with many community service organizations and services to the church. From 1975 to 1982 he served as the Chairman/Treasurer for the Communications Commission in Kansas City, MO for the Metro Interagency - Ecumedia of Kansas City. He was the Host/Producer of the half-hour weekly ecumenical television show "Daybreak" on NBC, from 1975 to 1991. From 1992 to 1994, he was the Host/Producer of the half-hour ecumenical television show "Ecumedia's World" on American Cable Vision. Larry also served on the Clinical Pastoral Education Board for St. Luke's Hospital's Evaluation of CPE Program and Staff from 1975 to 1994. Other organizations included Presbyterian Older Adult Education Ministry Network (POAMN), Presbyterian Bridging Cultures, Twin Cities Area Presbytery - Older Adult Committee and the Connectional Ministries, Moderator of the Synod of Mid-America - Media Committee, and the Heartland Presbytery - Media, Hunger, and Christian Education Committees.
Even though Larry "retired" in 2001, being a minister never seems to go away. Larry and Julie then moved back to Aberdeen Village in Olathe, KS where he served as a Chaplain for the Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America with 410 residents. From 2017 to 2021, Larry and Julie lived at Tallgrass Retirement Village where he continued to find ways to serve the Lord. January 13, 2021, Julie passed away with complications from the COVID virus. They were happily married for 65 years. Later in the year, Larry passed away on November 13, 2021, just after celebrating his 86th birthday with their friends at Tallgrass Retirement Village.
Larry and Julie are survived by his son Larry and wife Jan and two grandchildren, Sarah and Tim, two great grandchildren, Isaac and Grace, all of Oregon; daughter Rebecca Williams and husband Scott of Colorado; daughter Michaele Curfman and husband Kelly and two grandchildren, Troy and Ava, of Florida.