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Eldon Alonzo Thornburg



August 13, 1928 - March 25, 2024

Eldon Alonzo Thornburg of Loveland passed away in Loveland, Colorado, on March 25 after 95 years of a life blessed by God. 

Eldon was born in Osborne, Kansas, on Aug. 13, 1928, as the only son of Elmer Calvin and Lillie (Bathurst) Thornburg. He grew up in a three-room farmhouse near Kill Creek and was schooled in a one-room country schoolhouse along with three older sisters and one younger sister.

In 1942, Eldon took fellow Osborne High student Mary Jean Runzel on a date to a football game in a nearby town. Seven years later, he married Mary Jean at the Kill Creek Methodist Church near Osborne on Dec. 18, 1949. 

The first years of their marriage were filled with the challenges of a failed crop and illnesses, but in 1951 Eldon and Mary Jean were blessed with twins — Jeannie Lynn Thornburg and Larry Eldon Thornburg  — while living in Concordia, Kansas.

Eldon graduated in 1950 from Ft. Hays State University with a degree mathematics and went on to teach math at Concordia High School from 1950-1956.

In 1957, the growing scientific needs of American national defense called Eldon to California and a new career in guided missile research with the U.S. Navy. Eldon and Mary Jean moved their family to Norco, California, in 1957, and eventually to nearby Riverside,

Eldon spent the rest of his career working at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment Norco where he headed the data automation department. Upon his retirement in 1984 he was awarded the Navy Meritorious Civil Service Award.

A lifelong musician, Eldon sang in the John T. Hamilton Chorale and performed with the group throughout Asia and Europe.  

Eldon and Mary Jean fell in love with Colorado while spending summers at their cabin near Eleven Mile Reservoir. In 1990 they moved to Loveland, where they enjoyed being members of Mt. View Presbyterian Church. In retirement, Eldon learned how to ski and enjoyed countless hours on the city's municipal golf courses, where he could be found regularly with his golf buddies through the last year of his life.

Eldon is survived by his son, Larry (Marjory) of Upland, Calif., his grandsons, Eric (Susan) and Ryan (Bronwyn), and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jeannie, and his wife, Mary Jean, who passed away three months ago, just short of their 74th wedding anniversary. 

Burial will be held at a later date at Osborne Cemetery in Osborne, Kansas.