Celebration of Life for Ronald J. Thornburg, Respected Holtville Educator

February 28, 1937- November 28, 2017

Ron was born on February 18, 1937 in El Centro to William J. Thornburg and Marguerite Ellen Thornburg.

Ron attended local schools and graduated from Central Union High School in 1955. He attended IVC where he served as student body president in 1957. He went on to graduate from San Diego State University with a Business Administration Degree.

At SDSU, he was president of the Tau Kapppa Epsilon Fraternity. Upon completion of his degree he returned to Holtville and joined his brothers in the family business. Thor Packing Company. Several years later he went on to pursue a teaching degree at California Western University.

The next 35 years of his life were devoted to teaching the youth of Holtville Unified School District. He was a much loved and respected teacher. Most of the years were spent teaching all aspects of Industrial Arts (shop).

He and two fellow teachers started the Holtville Takedown Club to promote youth wrestling. He provided guidance for the Junior High Floats which were entered in the Holtville Carrot Parade and were assembled by all students with the help of some teachers and parents.

One of his greatest pleasures was helping his students design and build the sets for the annual Musical Operettas. His students also worked as the stage crew for the performances.

He never turned a friend or student away that needed a place to stay or get help.

Throughout his career, Ron received recognition and many awards. He was presented a Certificate of Commendation from State Superintendent of Schools Bill Honig for his excellence as a Mentor Teacher. He served as Head Negotiator for HTA for many years.

In 2011, Ron and his wife Joan were inducted into the Green and Gold Hall of Fame. They were also co-recipients of Holtville’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2012.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years Joan Thornburg and his two children, Gary Thornburg (Jackie Turner) and Jo Ellen Hill (Doyle Hill). He is also survived by three grand children: Erica Thornburg, Doyle Christopher Hill and Jaclyn Hill and one great-granddaughter, Brookyn McBride. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews spanning three generations.

A celebration of life will be held December 23, 2017 at the family home located at 908 Orange Avenue, Holtville, CA beginning at 12 p.m. In lieu of flowers Ron requested donations be made to the Woman’s Club of Holtville Scholarship Fund, The Pioneers Museum or the Holtville Athletic Club on behalf of the Holtville Takedown Club.

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