After a week of heartfelt goodbyes from family and friends, Della Francis Stanger Thornton passed away on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Though she was in and out at the end, she never lost her sense of humor, her concern for loved ones, and her caring nature. Her endurance to the end really showed her strength and character, and everyone who knew her is grateful to see her out of pain.
In 1937 in Pocatello, ID, Della Francis Thornton was born to parents, Dan and Irene Stanger, and was sister to three rambunctious brothers. Early on she had to learn to be adaptable. Her family moved a lot growing up, resulting in her attending eight different schools in just 12 years. She graduated high school in Hunters, WA, in 1955. After high school, she moved back to Idaho. She worked in Pocatello at H.S. Kress and then as a telephone operator. From there, her next step was love.
In 1956, she married her tall, handsome cowboy in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple. Along with husband Darrell Thornton, they were blessed with three daughters. They then adopted a son, Guy, and went on to have three more sons. All of their children have walked in their mother’s footsteps and have become strong, spiritual, caring individuals. In 1998, Guy, their first son was killed in a car accident. Family and friends are happy to know mother and son are reunited now.
Della followed her cowboy husband around the northwest with their seven children, stopping just long enough to live and love in Washington, Idaho, Canada, Nevada, and finally Montana. She and her growing family reached their final destination in 1977 in Lima, MT. Darrell and Della would have been married 57 years come August 22.
Della worked in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Primary President, a Young Women’s President, and a counselor in the Relief Society many times. She has taught Primary, Sunday school, Young Womens, and Relief Society many times in her lifetime.
Della was no stranger to service work. She sewed her way into many strangers’ hearts. Donating nearly 600 pieces of children’s clothing to the LDS Church and orphanages around the world, we can see how her contributions and caring, charitable nature touched so many.
Della had a gift for making everyone around her feel welcome and loved. People were drawn to her for her sharp wit and sense of humor. She had a generous spirit and was always mindful of people’s needs. She was an amazing cook, seamstress, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Along with her love and boisterous personality, her cinnamon rolls and delicious gravy will be sorely missed, especially come the holidays.
Darrel and Della would have been married 57 years on August 22. Della is survived by three daughters, Valerie Briggs (John), Annette Lee (Roger), Robin Hales (Don), and three sons, Justin (Janet), Brandon, and Dan (Mandi). She was blessed with 20 grandchildren, with one on the way, and two great-grandchildren. All those who knew her and loved her will carry her in their hearts always.
There was a visitation scheduled at the LDS Church in Lima on Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 7 to 8 p.m., as well as Wednesday, from noon until 1:45 p.m., with funeral services following at 2 p.m. A guestbook is available online at www.brundagefuneralhome.com.
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