Robert Lewis Thornton Jr.

November 7, 1936 - March 16, 2022
Robert Lewis Thornton Jr.


Robert L. Thornton, Jr. (Bob) of Wilmington, NC passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. He was born in Statesville, NC on November 7, 1936 to Robert L. Thornton, Sr. and Billie Parks Thornton, and raised in Monroe, NC.

Bob attended UNC Chapel Hill and graduated from UNC Law School. He worked in the American Law Division at the Library of Congress for several years until Bob and his wife, Janet, relocated to NC in 1981 where he continued to practice law until he retired.

Bob always spoke his mind and, sometimes you wondered if he was complimenting or insulting you, because he had such a dry sense of humor and quick wit! He loved to eat, and was a huge fan of ethnic cuisine. He was especially fond of Indian food, having lived in India for two years.

At 6’6” tall, he was a gentle giant with a heart of gold and he will truly be missed by those who knew him and loved him.

Bob is survived by his wife, Janet L. Thornton of Wilmington, his sons Robert of Vienna, VA and Christopher (Kate) of Charleston, SC, and his three precious granddaughters, Claire, Mary and Sadie who will surely miss their “Pops.”

Bob was very honored and proud to have served in the U.S. Navy. At his request, his remains will be buried at sea. The family will host a Celebration of Life at a later date.
To honor Bob’s memory, please consider a donation to Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington, NC or your local Humane Society.

Share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.


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  • June 30, 2022
    Andy & Daphne Eason says:
    Janet, so sorry to hear this. We saw John Blackburn last night and he told us. We think and speak of you and Bob often. We love you and send our prayers. Andy & Daphne Eason

  • June 30, 2022
    Andy and Daphne Eason lit a candle:
    Lit since June 30, 2022 at 6:40:07 PM

  • June 18, 2022
    Paul Morgan says:
    Dear Janice: I fondly remember those halcyon days in D.C. working with Bob, Johnny, Raymond J. , Charlie et al and the division secretary who ran the show ... what was her name? All who knew your Bob have suffered a great loss. Paul Morgan

  • March 22, 2022
    Betty Maynard says:
    Janet, My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. May God’s presence comfort you.

  • March 23, 2022
    Sarah Pellegrino says:
    Bob worked with my grandmother when I was a young girl--he used to pick me up and put me on his shoulders and walk around with me while I laughed. This is actually one of my first childhood memories. I'm so sad to hear of his passing, he was such a kind guy.