Thornton Clark, born in Montgomery on August 8, 1937, died at his home in Montgomery on June 21, 2022. He is survived by his beloved wife, Pat Clark, his beloved Westie, Condi, and his first cousin Ann Clark Diller of Medford, Oregon and his first cousins once kidnapped Griffin Doster Fry of Atlanta and Phillip Jelley of New York. He was predeceased by parents Eva Mae and Thornton Clark, sister Carolyn Clark and first cousin Juliette Persons Doster. Thornton graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery in 1955 and Harvard College in 1959. He majored in government, primarily the Constitution and history of the United States, and politics remained one of his majors. interest since. He had always wanted to be an elected official, but realized he was far too conservative for Massachusetts and nowhere near conservative enough for Alabama. While serving as Vice President of State Street Bank in Boston in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was tasked with selecting the first country and then the city in which the bank should have its first office. abroad. He was amused that the bank now has offices in 23 countries and several offices in major cities in some of those countries. While at the bank, he co-founded Heritage Travel, which became the first travel agency in the country to specialize in business travel and the first to use airline reservation systems. Heritage has served many of the nation’s largest corporations, several US government departmental departments in DC (including, sadly, the IRS), and many top universities across the country. Heritage has grown to include 151 locations coast to coast, becoming the sixth largest travel agency in the country. Heritage founded The Woodside Group of Travel Agencies, which consisted of top travel agencies in countries across the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This contributed many places to the list of over a hundred countries Thornton traveled to. Woodside offices around the world were serviced by a very complex reservations center in Boston that used 18 different airline, hotel and rental car reservation systems and had to be open 24/7 without exception. . Heritage merged with Crimson Travel to become Thomas Cook, which was at the time one of the largest travel companies with offices around the world. As Senior Vice President of Sales, his specialty was removing large commercial accounts from American Express. So when Cook was sold to American Express, he could see the handwriting on the wall and retired. Thornton was an avid skier, having ski homes in Vermont and later New Hampshire, skiing mountains on five continents, even Africa, and acting as president of the Chamois Ski Club which organized trips to many many large ski areas on four continents. Thornton was also an avid sailor, having competed in many events, was President of the beautiful One-Design International Class for ten years and finished fifth in their World Championships twice, once in San Francisco Bay and once in the Firth of Forth, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He and his wife have sailed many times to the coast of Maine and the British Virgin Islands, through the beautiful islands of southwestern Thailand, the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, all the islands of the Caribbean south to the Grenada and the Atlantic from Jost Van Dyke due north in Bermuda. In retirement, Thornton and Pat lived aboard their 55ft sloop, ‘Eagle’, for a year and a half, sailing over 12,000 miles, usually with only two of them on board. It was a nice experience. While living for nine years on Skidaway Island southeast of Savannah, Thornton belonged to the Oglethorpe Club, served as president of the Savannah Symphony, and founded and presided over the Harvard Club of Savannah. In his former hometown of Montgomery, he served as president of the Vaughn Meadows Neighborhood Association, spearheading the fundraising campaign for the beautiful landscaping, sign and flag pole in the center four of Fieldcrest Drive, just south of Vaughn Road. He also served several terms as president of the Montgomery Art Guild and chaired several major exhibitions by Southeast artists at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. He was instrumental in founding the Alabama Scenic River Trail by using his first-hand knowledge of the Tensaw Delta to map the best kayaking route to the gulf. Thornton’s second book, ‘Heads or Tales’, shared 256 of his unusual stories, as he was caught in the middle of a massive Communist-led anti-American riot in Turin, Italy, was in an elevator in a 26-story New York. hotel when the cables snapped and the car ended up in the basement and ended up on a plane that ran out of gas. He dined with people ranging from Richard Branson and Bill Marriott to TS Eliot and King Idi Amin. Thornton’s third book, “Money Really Grows on Trees,” focused on the 2020 presidential election and fourth, “What If,” was about Georgia’s groundbreaking January 2021 senatorial elections, predicting both wins in the Senate by the Democrats. . Due to all his interests, Thornton belonged to many clubs. For boating, she was owned by the Corinthian Yacht Club, the Eastern Yacht Club (both in Marblehead, Massachusetts), the Charles River Yacht Club in Cambridge, Mass., and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. For tennis, he belonged to the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston and the Coral Beach Club in Bermuda. For squash, he belonged to the Union Boat Club of Boston and the Tennis and Racquet Club. For golf, he belonged to the Landings Club on Skidaway Island southeast of Savannah and the Montgomery Country Club. In college, he was a member of the SAE and the Fox Club, then a member of the Harvard Faculty Club. He was very lucky to have been single for 34 hours before age 52, during which time he dated many women and would have paid child support to several if he hadn’t waited to find the right one. Pat, living in Dallas, represented the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, at an annual symposium that Thornton had organized and hosted in New York. They met at the reception for out-of-town guests the day before the symposium and their first date was at the US Open Tennis the following night. As the old saying goes, he looked and saw “a stranger across a crowded room” and those of you old enough know the rest of the lyrics to “South Pacific”. In this most important aspect of life, Thornton was extremely lucky. There is an old story that men try to find a woman who can cook as well as their mother; Thornton found one who was a much better cook than his mother. And she has two master’s degrees; Thornton had none. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Anderson Rogers Foundation, Montgomery County Historical Society or Montgomery Art Guild would be greatly appreciated. A visitation of family and friends for Thornton will be held Friday, July 22, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 113 Madison Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104, followed by a celebration of the memorial of life performance at 10:30 a.m. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy can be shared at www.Leak-MC.com for the Clark family.
Posted on July 02, 2022
Posted in Montgomery Advertiser