John Travis Thornton

Published 5:30 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

HOUSTON, MS – John Travis Thornton, “Travis,” age 90, passed away Sept. 23, 2023. He was born Aug. 30, 1933, in Kosciusko, MS to John T. and Stella Gober Thornton, whose great-grandparents were early settlers in Mississippi. He graduated from Kosciusko High School, attended Sunflower Junior College (Mississippi Delta Community College), and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS.

He served two years in the US Army. After several years of teaching mathematics in Leland, MS, he received his Master’s Degree at Mississippi College and became a school counselor in the Greenville Mississippi and Greenwood Mississippi Public Schools, and later a principal in the Greenville Mississippi school system. He later served as Dean of Student Affairs at Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead, MS for nineteen years and as Dean of the Natchez Mississippi branch of Copiah-Lincoln Community College for six years prior to his retirement after forty-one years of educational service to Mississippi.

Following retirement, he served as a counselor at Trinity Episcopal Day School in Natchez and as an assistant principal in the Chickasaw County Public School system in Houlka MS. During his years of public service, he was a member of numerous professional and service organizations, including President of the Leland Kiwanis Club, President of the Delta Area Counselors’ Association, President of the Moorhead Rotary Club and President of the Mississippi Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

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Travis was an active member of the United Methodist Church and served as Chairman of the Administrative Board at Trinity UMC in Greenville MS. He was an avid Duplicate Bridge player and a member and Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League.

After retirement, he and his wife lived in Houston, MS for twenty-three years. Following his wife’s death on April 25, 2020, he moved to Memphis TN to the Kirby Pines Lifecare Community.

Mr. Thornton was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of fifty-six years, Virginia (Jenny) Bell Smith Thornton, and two brothers, Rupert Bailey Thornton of Decatur, AL, and James (Jim) Arnold Thornton of Kosciusko, MS.

He is survived by one son, Robert Russell Thornton, and his wife, Meredith of Memphis, TN, and several nieces and nephews.

A graveside service for the family will be held at Parkway Cemetery in Kosciusko, MS. Jordan Funeral Home in Kosciusko will be in charge of the arrangements. There will be a service for family and friends honoring Travis and Jenny at Houston First Methodist Church in Houston, MS at 2 p.m., Oct. 15, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to your favorite charity. Cards for family may be sent to his son, Rob through: Jordan Funeral Home, 845 Highway 12 Kosciusko, MS 39090 Phone: (662) 289-5521. For online condolences, visit