In Memory

Carole Thornberry


ALTON — Carole Thornberry passed away peacefully in her home on March 15, 2019 at the age of 80.

A native of Alton, born April 7, 1938, Carole was the daughter of Margaret and Richard Cousley and the oldest of their four children. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Mader, sister-in-law, Mary Lou Cousley and grandson, Oliver Ocean Thornberry.

She is survived her husband of 59 years, Robert Thornberry; her daughter Annie Thornberry and grandchildren, Tyler Thornberry, Andrew Shultz, Hannah Shultz and Jackie Thornberry-Harris, all of Alton, Illinois; her son, Robert Thornberry and his wife Tina and grandchildren, Chloe, Ivy and Eli of Belleville, Illinois; her brother Steve Cousley and her brother David Cousley and his wife Carla, all of Alton; and several nieces and nephews.

Carole graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism in 1960. While at the university, Carole met the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Thornberry. They married in 1959 and spent a year as students in a third floor walk-up in Urbana, Illinois.

After her graduation, they returned to Alton for brief jobs in the St. Louis area. Bob got drafted and after basic training, was stationed in Chicago, Illinois where Carole worked as a dean's secretary at the University of Chicago. After another brief return to Alton, they relocated to Columbus, Ohio where both worked for Ohio State University; Carole worked in the Vice President's office and developed a staff news letter. Their adventure continued in rural Ohio, outside of Lima where Carole enjoyed the pleasures of home making, gardening and the arrival of their daughter, Ann Margaret Thornberry.

In 1972 they returned to Illinois to live in Riverton, Illinois and to work in Springfield, Illinois where the happy family welcomed the arrival of their son, Robert Cousley Thornberry. Carole worked at their children's school, Emmanuel Lutheran, as a cook and later as an office worker. The Thornberry family enjoyed traveling, entertaining friends and family, encouraging their son's passion for soccer and becoming members of a club soccer family. In 1995, Bob and Carole returned to Alton and purchased their forever home atop the bluff with an amazing view of the Mississippi River.

Carole relished being home, her membership in the First Presbyterian Church in Alton, P.E.O. Chapter IL, the Jenny D. Hayner Library Association, the Alton Community Service League and the Alton Women's Home Association and volunteering at the Lewis & Clark Historic Site. Many lives were touched by Carole's welcoming home, delicious meals and unyielding generosity. She was a beloved daughter, sister, spouse, mother, grandmother and friend, "a very deep, loving, smart woman" and "one of God's gifts to this crazy world."

A celebration of Carole's life will occur Saturday, March 23 at the First Presbyterian Church of Alton: visitation at 10 a.m., a memorial service at 11 a.m., and a luncheon at noon. Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Alton, P.E.O. Scholarship funds, and BJC Hospice. Gent Funeral home in Alton is in charge of arrangements.