Ruth M. Thornton

Ruth M. Thornton passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the age of 103. She was born on March 11, 1914 to Roscoe and Flora White of Fredonia.

Predeceased by her husband, the Rev. William George Thornton; her parents, Roscoe and Flora White; and four siblings, Dr. Lucy White, Mrs. Jane Lincoln, Mr. Paul White and Fern White.

Ruth was the eldest of five children and lived her early life in Fredonia. She is a 1936 graduate of the University of Michigan, and she taught history in Mayville. In 1942, she married the Rev. William George Thornton. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. She worked for many years at the Rochester Rundell Library, where she fulfilled her passion for books and reading.

Ruth also played the violin and was a supporter of the arts, in particular, music and Tony Bennett's Exploring the Arts.

Ruth is survived by her children, Susan Schoff (William) of Victor, NY and William Thornton of Portland, OR; four grandchildren, Bryan Schoff (Gabriella), Robert Schoff (Claire), Ana Tomblin (Jimmy) and Jane VanKleek. She also is survived by three great-grandchildren, Ian, Kenna and Olivia Ruth; and sister-in-law, Barbara J. White.

Our family wishes to thank all of her friends and staff at The Friendly Home and at Home Instead Senior Care for their friendship, love and compassion.

A Celebration of Ruth’s Life will be held on Friday, November 17 at 10 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave., Rochester.

Donations are encouraged to Exploring the Arts (transforming the lives of young people through arts and education), 34-12 36th St., Ste. 2-100, Astoria, NY 11106 or to the foundation of your choice in Ruth's memory.

To share a memory of Ruth or send a condolence to the family, visit

Obituary from the Observer

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