Aaron Thornton was born on August 13, 1934, to William Marcus Thornton and Ruby Harris Thornton. He passed away Friday, January 8, 2016 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He had one sister, Mary Sue Long.
He came to Shafter, California to be with his Father and he attended Shafter High School where he played football and met Mary Lou Banks, whom he later married. Following High School, he went to work for Shafter Pump. At Shafter Pump he learned an occupation that he would pursue for over 50 years. In his mid-twenties, he moved to Salinas, California and went to work for The Pump Shop which he later bought and renamed Salinas Pump Company that continues today.
He was a member of many associations such as the Elks Lodge for 47 years, California Groundwater, National Groundwater, and Arkansas Cattleman’s Assoc.
In the 90’s, Aaron returned to his birthplace in Ozan, Arkansas and he began establishing his cattle operation that is known today as Big Valley Land and Cattle. He loved his ranch, his cows, and could be seen on most days touring the pastures with a big cigar and a smile. In 2005, Aaron married Carolyn Thornton. They spent many happy days on the ranch in Ozan.
He had a passion for life and had more exciting adventures than most of us could ever imagine. Anyone that knew him also knew that his generosity knew no bounds. He did countless things for many people over the years. His word was his bond and he was never known to shirk a promise. He was a role model for his family and all that knew him. He was a prime example of what someone could achieve with hard work, perseverance, and courage.
Aaron’s mother passed away when he was young and he was essentially raised by his Aunt, Lilly Culpepper. He was preceded in death by wives Mary Lou and Madeline Thornton, his mother and father, and his sister and brother -in-law.
Aaron leaves behind his wife, Carolyn, his children Mark (Pam) Thornton, Rhonda Watras, step daughter Tammy Chesshir; his grandchildren Aaron (Neena) Thornton, Kristi (Dennis) Thornton-Bicek, Tommy Thornton, Bill Watras, Molly Watras; his great-grandchildren Elizabeth, Jackson, Addison and Blake; his Uncle Dalton Harris and numerous cousins. Aaron leaves behind many great friends including Sheba and Milko Smith, Cole James, and Bobby and Jamie Steed.