Carmen Cruz Thornton

96, of Grand Blanc passed away January 14, 2022 in her home. Carmen was born in Puebla, Mexico on February 1, 1925. She was the daughter of Francesca Lopez and Bernardo Cruz. They lived in Pachuca Hidalgo, Mexico in a large house with servants. She lost her mother at 7 from tuberculosis and her father from injuries in a car accident at the age of 12. After her cousins sold everything and the house, they sent her to live with her aunt on a farm. She realized that she was another mouth to feed, and at 13 she left for Laredo, Texas to find work with families to watch their children. These families helped her get her papers in order to stay in the U.S. and work. At 18 she met James J. Thornton, a soldier stationed at the Air Force Base in Laredo. Not knowing English and him not speaking Spanish, they married after four months and moved back to Michigan. They did not receive a warm welcome from his parents since she was a foreigner and couldn’t speak their language. Over the years, they grew to love her. They had six children, James Bernardo Thornton, who she fondly called Panino and who lives in Texas, Floyd Raymundo Thornton, sometimes known as Torrito and is married to his new wife Susie, Jet Eva Kilmer, her hija de mi alma, who is married to Mark Kilmer, Victor Merrill Thornton, passed away at three months from a crib death, Gregory Antonio Thornton, also known as Gregorio recently passed this past August 16th who was married to Chanda Thornton and Therese Naomi Bachman, who was her “pollita”, married Ken (Red) Bachman.

Since she lost her parents at such an early age, family was all she dreamed of. She felt she would never be alone again if she could have her own family.

With only a third grade education she went on to start her own business in her home as an Adult Foster Care Home. Even though her husband worked, this business provided the funds for her to travel all over the world and do many things with her children. She was able to support her husband’s dreams of building an ultra-light plane, becoming a hot air balloon pilot and purchasing a number of large balloons. The two of them traveled all over and to Guadalajara Mexico taking the balloons with them. They had many adventures together.

Speaking of her own family, she had five children that lived long prosperous lives. These five gave her grandchildren, Ryan Thornton, Taylor (Kilmer) Phillips, Mark David Kilmer, James Robert Thornton, Randall Bachman, and Kennedy Ann Bachman. She also had great grandchildren; Jamie, Aiden, Sean, Jocelyn, Trevor, Abigail, Jeffrey, Charlie, and Emma.

Losing her parents so early in life, she never thought she would live past 30. She prayed to live to be 50 so her children would be grown and on their own. Living to 96 was inconceivable. She lived alone and on her own up till October of 2021 preferring to have her own place and privacy when she wanted it. She taught her family love, patience, and understanding of others and that anything is possible if you just decide it is.

Funeral visitation will be at Martin Funeral Home/Detroit Cremation Monday, January 24th, from 11am to 8pm. Visitation on Tuesday, January 25th, will be at Holy Family Church at 9am and then funeral mass at 10am. Graveside service will follow immediately after at Crestwood Cemetery with a luncheon following back at Holy Family Father Bush Hall.


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