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1933 Elizabeth 2023

Elizabeth Thornton

1933 — November 19, 2023

Elizabeth Ann (Betty) McDonald was born in Cleveland, Ohio on February 22, 1933, to the union of Jesse Randolph McDonald and Anna Piccola Dennis. As a young child, Elizabeth worshiped at East Mount Zion Baptist Church where she sang in the children’s choir. Elizabeth also excelled in various activities like playing the piano, gymnastics, girl scouts, and dancing.

Elizabeth graduated in 1952 from John Adams High School in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1957 she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition from Bowling Green State University, completing a dietetics internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

Upon completing her internship, Elizabeth returned to Cleveland, Ohio where she met and married the love of her life, Maurice Thornton. Betty and Maurice were married in 1961 and went on to have three children, Karen Thornton, Susan Thornton-Smith, and Christopher Thornton.

She instilled her love for music, art and education, and civic duty and community volunteerism in all of her children.

Elizabeth was passionate about nutrition and ensuring that all children had access to affordable and nutritional meals. This passion led her to work as an instructor at the Cleveland Board of Education, Fairview Park Hospital School of Nursing, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Cuyahoga Community College.

In 1982, The Thornton Family relocated to Albany, New York where Elizabeth continued her work in nutrition serving as a Health Education Media Specialist for New York State Department of Health.  Elizabeth also shared her talents among several social groups including the Albany District Chapter of Links, Inc., the Urban League, Black Dimensions in Art, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and the Albany Chapter of Beta Psi Boule.

Elizabeth had many hobbies which included crossword puzzles, DIY projects, gardening, traveling, holiday entertaining, watching TV (Jeopardy!,  NFL) and reading. She especially enjoyed spending time with family and close friends.

Betty passed peacefully from this earth on November 19


after a long illness with PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). She is predeceased by her husband, Dr. Maurice Thornton, and her brother, Dennis McDonald. Elizabeth is survived by her four children, Bruce McDonald, Karen Elaine, Susan Eileen Thornton- Smith, and Christopher William Maurice, her two grandchildren, John Edward Smith and Christopher Juan Lopez, two sisters, Beverly Childress and Barbara Lucas, three sister’s in-law, Dr. Emma Jean Shepard, Alberta Kimbrough, and Estelle Lavender.  Along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Services will be Saturday, Nov. 25


at 3 pm at Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave., Delmar.  The family will receive visitors in the funeral home on Saturday beginning at 1 pm.

Contributions can be made in her name to

Elizabeth’s family wishes to express their thanks and appreciation to Community Hospice of St. Peter’s Medical Center, Home Instead, Ms. Estelle Lavender, Assie Bishop, and Bibi


for the love and care shown to Elizabeth during her illness.

Do It Anyway

Forgive. People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

Be kind. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

Succeed. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

Be honest.  If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

Build. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

Be happy. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

Do good. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give your best. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elizabeth Thornton, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, November 25, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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