January 9, 1925 – July 26, 2017
Born in Montevideo, Minnesota and rasied in Deer Lodge, Montana, John was the only son among five children born to John P. Thomton and Emma Mathison Thomton.
The attack on Pearl Harbor prompted him to join the US Navy just after his 17th birthday. He served as a radioman at the Naval Air Station in Livermore, California and aboard the US Orvetta in the Pacific. Following his WWII service, John finished high school at Broadway HS in Seattle. In 1946, he married Donna Selzer before attending one year at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. John graduated from Montana State University in 1950 – now the University of Montana. After his divorce, he returned to war duty as a radio officer on MSTS vessels sailing to Korea and Japan. Stateside, John joined the US Army Reserves retiring with the rank of major.
John married Helen Rude in 1965. Together they enjoyed international travel and road trips throughout the US. After John’s retirement from the US Department of Agriculture, they settled in Puyallup, Washington, where Helen passed away in 1997. John has lived in Kirkland since 2006.
Extremely proud of his Norwegian heritage, John was a long-standing member of Sons of Norway, Tacoma Lodge. While living in Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon, he acted in several local theatre productions. Passions included his love of animals, his pets, flying small planes, driving sports cars, parachute jumps, photography, discussing current weather conditions and everything Norwegian.
Survivors include his daughter Linda Hoff (James) in Kirkland, nephew James Cobb (Donna) in Idaho, nieces Christine Borrow (Joe) in Connecticut, Cynthia Hickson in California, great-nieces Courtney and Kristen Cobb in Idaho.
John was buried with military honors alongside his wife at Tahoma National Cemetery in Maple Valley, Washington, October 3, 2017.
Donations in John’s memory may be made to your local animal shelter.