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Monte Thornton, 90

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Long career at Publix, prominent in frozen food industry. 

Roy de-Monte Thornton passed away peacefully with his family by his side on October 11, 2021. He was born to Adelaide and Bozzie Thornton on December 5, 1930 in Beckley, West Virginia. He attended Orlando High School and later began his career with Publix Super Markets, Inc. at age 19 as a produce clerk. He was later promoted to store manager at Publix #6 located on Michigan Avenue. From there, he moved to the Publix Headquarters in Lakeland, Florida as Frozen Food Merchandiser and then on to Director of Frozen Foods.

He was elected chairman of the National Frozen Foods Association. In 2003, he was inducted into the National Frozen Food Hall of Fame, being the first retailer to be recognized in the frozen food industry. He was honored to give and share his knowledge of the industry internationally by travelling the world, speaking at National Frozen Food Conventions, later becoming the most authoritative expert on retail frozen food.
Monte was a member in Kiwanis, Rotary, The Red Coats, The Blue Coats, The Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, and the Honorable Order of Golden Penguins.

He is survived by Rose Marie, his wife of 70 years; children, Kevin (Terrie), Jay, and Teri (Stan); grandchildren, Kevin Jr. (Vanessa), Clay (Ashley), Jason (Beverly), Josh (Lauren), Waylon (Maureen), Matthew, Niccole (Brian), Kristi (Hunter), Brett; great grandchildren, Austin, Kolton, Will, Jaxson, Gage, Javan, Jordan, Jake, Kalin, Aubree, and Easton; and nephews Lance (Jackie), Sean, and Tristan.

He was active in the Delaney Park Little League and the Boone High School Football program. After forty-four years with Publix, Monte retired. He was honored by Florida Southern College who provides an annual scholarship in his name, “Monte Thornton”.

Another accomplishment of Monte’s was making a movie with Kenny Rogers titled “The Gambler III”. He also made a TV commercial for Saluto’s Pizza with actress Rebecca Clemons.

Monte had a tremendous influence on his associates, many who made their careers with Publix and later became leaders in many positions within the company. He loved playing golf, taking photographs, and spending time with his family.

We wish to thank all the Cornerstone Hospice staff for their loving care of Monte. If anyone wishes to make donations, Monte’s favorite charity was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A private service for the family will be held at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to CAREY HAND COLONIAL FUNERAL HOME, 2811 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806 407-898-2561

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856

Warren Thayer

Warren Thayer

Warren is the Editorial Director & Managing Partner for Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer.

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