Sergeant Charles E. Thornton, age 47 of Elberton, Georgia entered his eternal rest on Thursday, March 2, 2023.
Mr. Charles Elliot Thornton was born on June 24, 1975, to the union of Mr. Otha Edward Thornton Sr. and Mrs. Estelle Jones Thornton. Charles committed his life to Christ as a teenager and prioritized his family and community in the spirit of love, excellence and persistence. He was multi-faceted, an educator, leader, mentor and author of The Warrior Class. Charles’s life was the epitome of “Excellence being a habit, rather than an act.”
During high school, Charles served as a Lifeguard for the city of Elberton, participated in leadership positions in the JROTC program, and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he earned the Life Scout Award. During his time at Morehouse, he was on the college swim and dive teams and involved in several campus and community-centered initiatives.
Charles graduated from the Elbert County Comprehensive High School in 1993, and Morehouse College in 1999 with a B.A. Degree. He later earned an MPA from Central Michigan University. After successfully graduating from Morehouse, Charles enlisted in the United States Army, where he completed basic training at Fort Jackson, SC and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, TX. His first assignment was at Fort Hood, TX and then Fort Bragg, NC. Charles also completed the US Airborne School (with over 30 jumps as a military parachutist), Special Operations Assessment Course, and the Afghanistan Dari Language school.
His exceptional performance of duties as a Soldier and medic led to his selection into the US Army’s Special Operations community, the most elite troops in the armed forces. During his enlistment, he served as a combat medic and a Special Operations Noncommissioned Officer. He also served a combat tour in Afghanistan with Alpha Company 8th Psychological Operations Battalion in 2004 and returned for a tour later on as a civilian contractor at the Bagram Airbase. Following completion of his tours in Afghanistan, he went on to work as a Train Conductor for the CSX Corporation. Following his tenure with CSX, he became a science teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. After teaching for two years, he would move on to the career track for the Veterans Administration in Atlanta, Georgia for the last decade.
He volunteered in his children’s school PTAs, coached their sports teams, and advocated for many of Elberton’s youth. Charles’s primary passion was facilitating opportunities for young Black men to gain knowledge and exposure with hopes that they might reach their highest potential. To accomplish this mission, Charles founded Elberton’s Promise. Through his organization, Charles served and worked with professionals across the US and the world to teach and model accountability, effective communication, community building, and leadership to young men of Elberton, GA. Furthermore, Charles was active throughout the state of Georgia and used every opportunity to advocate and provide resources for marginalized individuals.
He was also a loving son, brother, and community servant who encouraged and inspired many to operate in the spirit of excellence. He offered his expertise, time, and energy in countless ways, and served in various capacities with the Atlanta Morehouse Alumni Association, the Renaissance Church of Christ, and other civic activities. However, through all his accomplishments, his highest achievements of all, was meeting the love of his life, Dr. Elisa Thornton and the love and devotion he had for the 5 amazing children they shared.
Charles leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Dr. Elisa Thornton; three daughters, Amaya, Grace, and India; two sons, Charles Jr. and Elias; mother, Ms. Estelle Thornton of Elberton, GA; siblings, Otha E. Thornton Jr. of Newnan GA, Sondra M. Thornton of Hartwell, GA, Rodney Thornton (Daisy) of Jacksonville FL, Eric L.Thornton (Khatuna) of Ankara, Turkey, Xavier T. Thornton of Elberton, GA, Sasha M. Thornton of McDonough,GA; father and mother-n-laws, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Robinson of Wauchula, FL; brother and sister in laws, William Robinson III (Yolonda) of Atlanta, GA; aunts and uncles, Quincy (Gwendolyn) Fortson, Shirley Dubose, Doyle (Margaret) Thornton, Charles (Cheryl) Thornton; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00pm, located at Renaissance Church of Christ - Atlanta, GA.
Visitation will be held on Friday, March 10, 2023, 12:00 - 5:00pm, located at Mack's Funeral Home - Elberton Chapel. The family will receive friends from 3:00 - 5:00pm.
Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at 10:00am located at First Baptist Church of Elberton, GA. Service will be lived streamed via the Mack's Funeral Home & Cremation Service Facebook page.
Interment will follow the Celebration of Life service at Lincoln Height's Cemetery with Military Honors.
Mack's Funeral Home & Cremation - Elberton Chapel. www.macksfuneralhome.com (706) 283-4566.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of SGT. Charles E. Thornton, please visit our floral store.