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Rail News: Labor

Former UTU International Vice President Thornton dies


On July 11, former United Transportation Union (UTU) International Vice President James Thornton died of natural causes in Roseville, Calif. He was 79.

In 1946, Thornton began his railroading career as a brakeman for the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). He was promoted to conductor in 1953.

In 1963, Thornton was elected local UTU chairperson. Six years later, he was elected vice general chairperson of SP’s general grievance committee; in 1973, he became the committee’s general chairperson.

Thornton was elected alternative UTU vice president in 1975 and re-elected in 1979. After becoming UTU international vice president in 1980, he was re-elected in 1983 and 1987. Thornton retired in 1992.

An avid golfer, he served in the Marine’s second division during World War II. Thornton is survived by a son, two daughters, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund or the Sutter Hospice Roseville, 1836 Sierra Gardens Dr., Suite 130, Roseville, CA 95661.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/19/2005