Albert O. “Jim” Thornburgh passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
He was born to Albert E. Thornburgh and Phoebe (Jones) Thornburgh on June 26, 1925 in Cincinnati, OH. The Great Depression necessitated a move to Oak Park, IL to live with his grandparents who were also housing his aunt’s family. He was particularly close to his cousin Owen Evans whose father called them Jim and Joe. Though Joe’s name did not stick, Jim’s did. The house was crowded and Jim was sent to Randolph to live with his Aunt Mabel Robert’s family. He started his education in the one room schoolhouse in South Randolph. Those early ties lasted his entire life. Jim graduated from Oak Park High School, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He attended Rockhurst College where he received flight instruction. Jim served in air traffic control in the Philippines and was one of the first Americans to enter Japan at the end of WWII. After his discharge, Jim returned to Randolph, attended UW-Oshkosh, and renewed his friendship with Elaine Smith. They were married on June 7, 1947 in the First Congregational Church in Randolph. Elaine preceded him in death in 2016.
Most of Jim’s working career was with the United States Postal Service, from which he retired as a Superintendent of Postal Operations in August 1980. Jim was active in Randolph Village government, was a Mason for sixty-five years, and was a member of the VFW.
Jim’s love of aviation never left him. He was blessed that Elaine loved it also. She was a good navigator and an excellent co-pilot. Over the years, they owned three different aircraft and visited many places throughout the United States.
Jim is survived by his children, Joan (Donald) Calhoun of Whitewater, Paul (Marcy) Thornburgh of Sun Prairie and Jane (William) Meekma of Waukesha; eight grandchildren, Andrew (Elizabeth) Calhoun, Tyler (Cindi) Calhoun, Evan and Casey (Alexandra Doaga) Calhoun, Thomas (Megan) and Michael Thornburgh, and Sarah and Benjamin (Katie) Meekma; ten great-grandchildren, Isabel, Drew, Vienna and Romy Calhoun; Jackson and Addison Meekma; and, Lillian, Oliver, Rosemary and Leonidas Thornburgh; his special friend Betty DeYoung, as well as many other friends and relatives. The family is very grateful for the excellent care Jim was blessed to receive at Randolph Health Services.
A memorial service and inurnment at the Randolph Cemetery will take place at a later date. Jim requested that any memorials be directed to The Salvation Army or the First Ev. Lutheran Church of Beaver Dam.
Condolences may be sent to Cornerstone Funeral & Cremation Services, 135 Keller Blvd., Beaver Dam, WI who is honored to be serving the family. You may send private online condolences or sign the family’s guest book at www.cstonefs.com.