Donald B Thornton, M.D

August 16th, 1940 to December 10th, 2017

Port Huron native Donald B. Thornton, 77, died peacefully in his sleep on December 10, 2017.

Dr. Thornton was born August 16, 1940 to A. Ray Thornton, Jr and Vance West Thornton. Don was a remarkably talented individual. After scoring 3rd highest in the nation on the SAT, he chose University of Michigan as his college, largely, because he received a hand-written letter from the dean. Don graduated with a B.S.E. in bioengineering and immediately went to work for North American Rockwell Corp as a Human Factors Engineer where he worked on life support systems and workspace analysis for the Apollo 7 mission. Don decided to go back to school and received a fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, one of the most challenging of the Ivy League schools. After graduation, Don studied further at the University of Washington School of Medicine where he had a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pulmonary Disease Research. Following internship and residencies, Don joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as a medical officer. Don’s passions and hobbies were many and included, among other things, building and flying his own airplane, building boats, sailing, scuba diving, fishing, and hunting.

More importantly, Don had a heart filled with compassion, particularly for those in need. Beyond his private practice in San Diego, California, he provided medical services to poverty-stricken communities in Africa and other places around the world. He also serviced incarcerated populations, right here in Michigan.

Don is survived by his brothers, Ray and Larry, and sisters, Susie, and Marsha Smeltzer.

There will be a private service for the family.

Arrangements are by Pollock-Randall Funeral Home. To send condolences, visit

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