Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Robert Melvin Thornton

Thornton, Robert

Nov. 14, 1937 – March 20, 2013

Bob passed away quietly at home surrounded by his family after a courageous six-month battle with cancer. He was raised in the Sierra foothills, graduated from Auburn High School and attended Cal Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard and joined as a faculty member of the section of plant biology department at UC Davis in 1968. He taught biology, botany and plant physiology classes to undergraduates for 34 years before his retirement in 2001. He received many accolades for excellent teaching, including the Distinguished Teaching Award from UCD.

Bob was a brilliant, loving and conscientious person who was delighted with a good discussion on life, philosophy, religion or almost any topic. He was always happy when his family was together talking, playing games or taking long walks. He counted it a good gathering if we found ourselves laughing so hard we could barely breathe.

Bob leaves his wife, two children and four grandchildren as well as a sister and brother. He was a role model and inspiration to us and to many others. He never stopped learning and growing and helping others. It is hard to imagine this world without him in it. Services will be private.

Special to The Enterprise

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  • KimApril 10, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    I just found out about Dr. Thornton's passing by reading an article in an alumni e-mail. I had taken his plant physiology class more than two decades ago. What I remember about him is that, not only was he a great instructor, he was also very kind, and everyone really liked and respected him. I don't recall hearing anything negative about him or his teaching methods. Even after all these years, it is sad to know that Dr. Thornton is no longer with us.

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