Lt. Cdr Roger Thornton

Falls City native, Roger Norman Thornton passed away at his home in Santa Monica on 27 October, 2021.

Roger was born December 3, 1941 to Vera (Thornton) Roesch and Norman F. Thornton. Roger graduated from Falls City High School with the class of 1960, and also from the University of Nebraska.  Roger served in the US Navy for five years, including one year as a “Swift Boat” Captain during the Vietnam War. Following his honorable discharge as a Lieutenant Commander in 1969, he attended the University of Southern California and earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science.

In 1979 Roger became a founding member of what would become Santa Monicans for Renter’s Rights (SMRR) and helped turn that grassroots group into a local political powerhouse. He learned the computer skills needed to develop sophisticated mail campaigns, maintained membership lists, set up the SMRR Newsletter, and as Treasurer,  managed SMRR finances and campaign reporting for more than 30 years.

Roger never gave up on his love for Falls City and often returned to visit family, meet with old friends and attend class reunions. He remained close friends with his fellow classmates David and Thelma (Merz) Lunsford, Ed Steinman, and the late Dave Reavis.

Roger is survived by his wife Chris, his daughters Jennifer Smith  and Stephanie Thornton, and his grandchildren Logan and Emilia Smith, and sisters  Carol Thornton Coffey of Hastings Nebraska and Cathy Roesch Ebmeier of Bertrand, Nebraska.

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