• 79°
The late Doyle Thornton, far left, and Leigh Thomas congratulate each other at the 2014 Bob Jones Holiday Concert. Thornton served as band director at Bob Jones High School for 27 years. He died on June 30. CONTRIBUTED

Thornton’s legacy blends music with spirit of loyalty, determination

MADISON – Without a doubt, Doyle Thornton will be remembered for sharing his knowledge of music but also for undying loyalty and commitment to thousands of young men and women that he mentored.

Thornton died at his home in Madison on June 30. He was born on Nov. 8, 1949 in Winfield. As a high school junior, he moved to Warner Robins, Ga. where he met his future wife, Ginger. They married in Clermont, Ga.

Thornton earned a bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He directed bands until settling at Bob Jones High School in 1989. During that time, he received his master’s degree in music education from Auburn University. In 2015, he retired from teaching music and marching band techniques for 27 years at Bob Jones.

“I loved Mr. Thornton, in spite of his many quirks,” Maggie Heeger, mother of two band alumni, said. “Maybe it was the quirks that made him special.”

“I loved how he had nearly unending patience with the most volatile group of humans around: teenagers! He knew when to double down and he knew when to lighten up,” Heeger said.

“I can’t tell you how often I heard of a kind thing he did or arranged because he knew a band student needed that gesture. He arranged for band fees to be paid for expensive competition trips. Nothing was ever said or mentioned about it,” Heeger said.

Highly educated, Thornton could have been a well-paid composer or conductor, but he chose to teach high school band. “Anyone who would go out in the blazing Alabama summer sun, year after year, to coach hundreds of musicians at band camp as they worked on their routines … obviously, he did it out of love,” Heeger said.

Robby Parker considered Doyle Thornton a special person. Parker was in his second year at Bob Jones when Thornton started in 1989; they worked together until Thornton’s retirement in 2015. (Parker formerly served as Madison City Schools Superintendent and now is Principal of Whitesburg Christian Academy, Upper School.)

“I watched the band explode from 20-something students to more than 200. No one loved Bob Jones more than Doyle Thornton,” Parker said. “Doyle said that he and I were either the two hardest working people in the world … or the dumbest.” They both arrived at school around 7 a.m. as Parker headed to an athletic field, and Thornton prepared for the band to rehearse marching drills/music.

“People show their love in different ways. Doyle showed his love by never wavering, being there for the kids, sharing his expertise,” Parker said. “It hurts my heart that he’s gone. He was a good man.”

Thornton was inducted into the Bob Jones Hall of Fame in 2017.

Each year, Bob Jones seniors who have completed seven or eight semesters in the band program received the “Doyle Thornton Award.”

Thornton is survived by his wife, Ginger; one son, Robert A Thornton; and two granddaughters, Mia and Marlie.

Madison

Need a lanyard? Madison City Community Orchestra can help

Bob Jones High School

Phillip Clark’s Army stint has ranged from Georgia, California to South Korea

Bob Jones High School

Kolenich, Gaines, Jones take MCS district’s top honors

Madison

City to mail postcards to voters who vary between two polls locations

Huntsville

Nexstar Donates to Project Lifesaver in Honor of Ivy Anderson

Madison

‘The Greatest #Stayathome Videos’ features Garrett’s dance team from Madison

Bob Jones High School

Nichols charges teachers at Institute Day to ‘step out’ in unprecedented year

Bob Jones High School

Numerous students honored in Young Writers Contest

Madison

MPD shuts down illegal gaming operation in Madison, makes arrest

Business

FCA Golf Classic Set For The Ledges Aug. 31

Business

Adult Fall Sports Leagues Now Forming

Harvest

TV producers select Madison team to appear Friday on CBS’ ‘The Greatest #Stayathome Videos’

Madison

Digital version of The Madison Record – Aug. 5, 2020

Harvest

Selvidge serves aboard U.S. Navy warship in Spain

Madison

Trash Pandas will host Summer Bash and Superhero On-Field Movie Night this weekend

James Clemens High School

Edgecomb receives 2020 Madison City Community Orchestra Scholarship

Madison

MCS to hold second school supply distribution, donations needed

Madison

Denzine in race to serve District 6, Madison City Council

Madison

Former Nine Inch Nails drummer and Madison resident Chris Vrenna to be Calhoun’s 2020 commencement speaker

Bob Jones High School

Aug. 21 James Clemens and Bob Jones high school football games cancelled

Madison

MPD says local residents received unsolicited seeds, which may be part of a scam

Huntsville

Historic walking tours for Oct. canceled

Huntsville

Virtual candidate forum for municipal elections to be held Aug. 11 and12

Harvest

Registered nurse Lindzy Carter tops COVID-19’s learning curve

x