BOARDMAN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) –  Joseph “Don” Thornton, 84, passed away suddenly Wednesday morning, February 15, 2023 at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

He was born May 2, 1938, in Struthers, a son of the late Joseph R. and Phyllis Maley Thornton.

Don graduated from Struthers High School in 1956.

From 1961 to 1963, he served his country as an MP in the United States Army.

Don was also a member of St Luke Church in Boardman.

Don was employed by Automatic Sprinkler and went on to own Cardinal Fire Protection for 11 years until his retirement in 1999.

In his free time, Don was an avid YSU football fan attending all the home games as a season ticket holder for many years. Don remained busy over the years by supporting the various local festivals dealing blackjack for their casino nights. He also served as a member of the Knights of Columbus. During his retirement, he enjoyed various bus trips to local casinos around the area, he bowled in the Sr. League at Boardman Lanes, enjoyed his daily morning coffee with his many friends at Yankee Kitchen and ensured he got his daily exercise in at the mall with his mall walkers but most of all, he was his grandchildren’s number one fan by attending all their many sporting events throughout the years cheering them on to victory.

Don is survived by his wife, Carmel Cardelein Thornton, whom he married September 3, 1966 at St. Anthony Church in Youngstown. He will also be remembered by his three loving children, Cheryl (Tim) Gallo of Boardman, Deborah Myers of Canfield and Darren (Christina) Thornton of Canfield; grandchildren, Joseph and Sheridan Myers and Isabella Thornton and numerous close friends, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, William Thornton, Marge (Thornton) Varsho, Frank Thornton and Phyllis (Thornton) Mahoney.

Calling hours will be held from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at the Rossi Brothers and Lellio Funeral Home, 4442 South Avenue, Boardman.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 20, 2023 at St. Luke Church, 5235 South Avenue in Boardman with the Rev. Matthew Humerickhouse as Celebrant. Please meet directly at the church for Mass.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Man Up Mahoning Valley in support of prostate cancer, 7676 Market Street, Boardman, OH 44512.

Family and friends are encouraged to offer prayers for the family and support via phone call, text, email or may visit the Book of Memories at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph D. “Don” Thornton, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

A television tribute will air Sunday, February 19 at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on WKBN and 7:58 p.m. on FOX. Video will be posted here the day of airing.