Roy Willard Thorn Jr., 92, a beloved husband and devoted father, and long-time resident of Joplin, Mo., passed away on Dec. 21, 2020, at his home, surrounded by family.
Roy was born May 8, 1928, in Woden, Iowa, the oldest of two children, to the late Roy and Nellie Thorn, Sr., in the upstairs living quarters of the Rock Island Depot where they resided and where his father worked as Train Station Manager and Telegrapher.
Growing up in Northern Iowa, surrounded by farmland and cornfields and very cold winters, gave him the opportunities and insight to work hard and enjoy several life-learning experiences by helping his dad at the train depot, working at the local creamery, and on his parents’ farm and helping others on their farms.
Upon graduating as Class President from his high school at 17 years of age on May 8, 1945, or as it is known as VE Day, he then attended Waldorf College for his first two years and then transferred to Luther College for his last two years, majoring in Biology, Chemistry, and Seminary studies.
After Luther College he became a motorcycle dealer for Harley-Davidson. He provided several police departments with Harleys and would flat and dirt track race his motorcycle on the weekends.
During this time he met the love of his life, his future wife, Marjorie Mary Mitchell, in Decorah, Iowa. They were married on Dec. 27, 1950, and were together until her passing on Dec. 10, 2013.
After Roy was drafted in 1951, he did his basic training at Fort Riley, Kan., and then Marjorie, his son Don, and he, moved to San Antonio, Texas, for his medical training, and then to Camp Crowder, where he worked in the pharmacy and as a Med Technician in Neosho, Mo., to finish out his military service, and then moved the family to Diamond, Mo. He was hired as chemist at W.R. Grace and Company in Joplin, Mo. While living in Diamond, Mo., Roy and Marjorie, with the help of the University of Illinois, designed and built their first new home from the ground up. He volunteered as a Boy Scout leader for his son Don’s troop and worked with his wife Marjorie, who was a volunteer Girl Scout leader for their daughter Pam’s troop. All of their children were able to enjoy and achieve through their scouting adventures and travel. As a ham radio operator, Roy also volunteered with the Diamond Civil Defense.
Both Roy and Marjorie believed in giving their children a good education and was always very helpful in giving them the tools they needed to help them achieve. All of their children participated and won Science Fair awards throughout their school age years.
Roy and his family eventually transferred with W.R. Grace to the Henry, Ill., fertilizer plant working there for six years and eventually moving back to Joplin, Mo., with W.R. Grace. He had received multiple patents while working for them. After working for W.R. Grace, he decided to retire early and start his own international fertilizer consulting company, The Thorn’s, where he was hired by several global fertilizer companies. He had worked in the fertilizer industry for over 30 years.
When Roy and Marjorie moved back to Joplin, Mo., they formed a group called DABS, the Delaware Avenue Benevolent Society, with all of their neighbors to enjoy cookouts and neighborhood gatherings.
While in retirement he volunteered with Junior Achievement as a leader helping his group secure and remove items from the Conner Hotel in Joplin, Mo., for one of their group's fund raising business projects.
He enjoyed technology, science, inventing, tinkering, reading, taking classes, gardening, cookouts, neighborhood and family gatherings, being a member of Mensa, and always joking and telling stories. There was not anything that he could not build, fix, or repair. Having purchased and mastered his first home computer by 1978, and even building his own Geodesic Dome, he later on designed jewelry for family and friends - Roy was always working and crafting things and constantly learning and seeking knowledge in life.
Most of all, Roy cherished his family and friends, especially his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren.
Roy was preceded in death by his wife; Marjorie Mary Thorn and his parents.
He is survived by his four children; Donald J. Thorn, of Joplin, Mo., Pamala J. Carrier and husband Dennis, of Joplin, Mo., Roy W. Thorn III and fiancé Kendra, of Kansas City, Mike R. Thorn and wife Lee Ann, of Bartlesville, Okla., eight grandchildren; Stacy Provenzano and husband Joshua, of Duncan, Okla., Brandi Heinz and husband Michael, of Washington, D.C., Tiffney Testerman and husband Nicholas, of Joplin, Mo., Lindsay Boyett and husband Chasten, of Oklahoma City, Ryan Thorn, of New York City, Mark Thorn, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Craig Thorn, of Bartlesville, Okla., Megan Norman and husband Joey, of Kansas City, eight great-grandchildren; Keely Thorn, of Duncan, Okla., Jaxon Provenzano, of Duncan Okla., J'cie Provenzano, of Duncan, Okla., Lillian Testerman, of Joplin, Mo., Josephine Testerman, of Joplin, Mo., Luke Wood, of Oklahoma City, Zara Boyett, of Oklahoma City, Luke Norman, of Kansas City, one great-great grandchild; Cali Gueera, of Duncan, Okla., and a sister Bonnie Thorn, of Des Moines, Iowa.
Visitation and funeral services were held Dec. 31, at Mason-Woodard Mortuary, of Joplin.
The family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society.
Arrangements were entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory, of Joplin.