LONG BEACH - Ilwaco resident Rex Thornley, 82, died July 10, 2007, in Long Beach.
The son of Lawrence and Hazel (Wood) Thornley, he was born in Ogden, Utah on Aug. 3, 1924. He moved with his family to Los Angeles, Calif., where he received his education.
Mr. Thornley entered service with the United States Army on Sept. 16, 1942. Initially he served with a horse cavalry unit, which soon became a motorcycle unit part of the 1st Battalion, 245th Infantry of the 63rd Division. He served in the European Theatre and saw action at the infamous Colmar Pocket. His unit was awarded a Presidential Citation with three campaign stars.
Returning from duty in February 1946, he again settled in Los Angeles. Having honed his truck driving skills in the Army, he initially delivered bread. He then became a coast to coast long haul truck driver, working for many years for ABCO Trucking of Baldwin Park, Calif.
Fifteen years ago following retirement, Mr. Thornley settled in Ilwaco to be near family. He enjoyed golf and keeping in touch with old friends. He took pride in his independence and was very much his own person.
He and Lula Halby were married Aug. 9, 1947. They later divorced but remained best of friends and soul mates. She survives residing in Fredericktown, Mo.
Survivors include his daughter Charlene Welch of Ilwaco; brother Kenneth "Hank" Thornley of Las Vegas, Nev.; grandchildren Larry Welch and Tammy Parker; and five great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his son-in-law Bruce Sunyich, his Army buddy Al Orsini and his trucking buddy Roy Mattox. His son Rex Thornley Jr. died while serving his country during Vietnam. Several other siblings also died earlier.
Family and friends have gathered at Penttila's Chapel By The Sea for their final farewell. A memorial service may be announced later. The guest book may be signed at www.penttilaschapel.com.