Leon Sonny Thornton was born on October 6, 1942, to Velma Thornton Fields in a loving and caring communal type environment of aunts, uncles and anyone else that didn’t have a home which the late Mack and Mary Thornton was at the helm. Leon was their first grandchild so naturally everyone doted on him and nicknamed him Sonny.
Leon received his education with the Jefferson County School System and his spiritual and religious training from Reverend B.W. Baldwin of the First Missionary Baptist Church.
In 1964 Leon relocated to Brooklyn, New York and married Barbara Watts. Out of that union, two children were born, the late Samantha Thornton Purifoy and Tarji Thornton. Later, he married Inez Gray.
When it came time for employment, he never feared to make a mistake or dare to accomplish something. His friends in Brooklyn affectionately called him “Killer”. He was an original.
For over 35 years, he worked for The New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, first as a Dietary Aide in 1968. In 1971, he was placed in the position of Emergency Medical Service. In 1979, he was promoted to the position of EMS Specialist I. He also worked for Cabrini Hospital as an Ambulance Technician. He loved his job because it enabled him to help people. While in this position of Ambulance Technician, he delivered a few babies and saved a few lives. He was proud of these accomplishments. He retired from both jobs and relocated back to Warrior, Alabama to live out his retirement. He transitioned on Saturday, September 24, 2022.
Leon was preceded in death by: his mother, Velma Thornton Fields and his daughter, Samantha Thornton Purifoy.
To cherish fond memories, he leaves: a son, Ollie “Dagwood” (Dietrice) Johnson; daughter, Tarji Thornton; brother, Winston Relay Smith; sister, Velma Elaine Smith; grandchildren, Joshua Bailey, Olleshia Johnson, Ollena Johnson, Qualon Thornton, Shaquille Robinson, Ollie Johnson, Jr., Adrijuana Fitzpatrick, Chris Fitzpatrick and Equoya Fitzpatrick; a host of dear cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.