Fallen Hero: SSG Billy Keith Thornton (Ret)


Funeral Home

Ott & Lee

Forest, MS


Leaf River Baptist Church, Pineville, MS, Tuesday, August 8, 5-8 p.m. and Wednesday, 10-11 am.


Leaf River Baptist Church, Pineville, MS, Wednesday, 11 am.


Recognizing and Honoring a Fallen Hero, Who Served Within the Mississippi National Guard. “Fallen, Yet Not Forgotten”

In recognition of our proud American tradition of honorable service which our military men and women have given to their country and our State, we honor a Fallen Hero. Our nation, our state, and the National Guard Association of MS (NGAMS) regard the memorializing of its retired military deceased as an honorable and sacred obligation.

Another great Soldier and Fallen Hero has been released from duty, passed from our ranks on August 6, 2023, and has moved on to his heavenly home.  SSG Billy Keith Thornton (Ret), age 74, who served in the MSARNG within the 106th Support Battalion, 155th Armored Brigade has departed and gone to a better place with our good Lord.  

It takes a special person to serve within the military for their country, giving up their family time, comfort, and safety for their country, ultimately for all Americans to enjoy their freedoms, safety, and way of life. We now applaud you for your service to our country. A special message from General Douglas McArthur remains applicable today for our servicemen that have passed: “Old Soldiers never die; they just fade away”.

Rest in Peace Soldier. We applaud your patriotism and brave efforts in serving our country and your family for their support of your service. We thank you for your service. Without your efforts and your families’ support, our country would not stand so boldly, shine so bright and live so free.

You now have earned a rest, so go fly with the Angels, go rest high on that mountain; your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a-shoutin’ Love for the Father and the Son.

Another great Soldier has gone home, “Fallen, Yet Not Forgotten, Soldier for Life”.

Obituary, Visitation, and Service details:  

Surrounded by his loving wife and three daughters, Billy Keith Thornton (74) of Pineville, MS, passed away on August 6, 2023, at Asbury Hospice House in Hattiesburg, MS.  He was born on November 1, 1948 in Raleigh, MS.

Keith was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Winnie Mae Newcomb Thornton; father, Bennie William Thornton; brother, Donald Thornton and his wife Ann; brother, Douglas Thornton and his wife Sylvia; and brother, Michael.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years, Linda Richardson Thornton; daughter, Laura Thornton Boleware of Gautier, MS; daughter, Wendy Thornton Bales (Keith) of Stringer, MS; daughter, Amy Thornton Walley (Heath) of Raleigh, MS; and brother, Paul David Thornton (Susan) of Center Ridge, MS.  He is also survived by 6 grandchildren, Landry Boleware, Austin Ingram (Leslie), Kalyn Bales, Carter Bales, Evan Walley, Olivia Walley; one great-grandchild, Nathan Ingram; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Keith retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard and HSI in Bay Springs, MS.  He loved his community and church, which he also considered family, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.  He served with the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department for many years, was president of Leaf River Cemetery Association, and served as a poll worker at the Pineville Voting Precinct.  He was a faithful member of Leaf River Baptist Church in Pineville and lived out his faith through service..

Visitation will be held at Leaf River Baptist Church in Pineville, MS, on Tuesday, August 8, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.  Funeral services will be held at Leaf River Baptist Church on Wednesday, August 9, at 11 a.m. with visitation at 10 a.m. prior to funeral service.  Burial will take place in Leaf River Cemetery.  Leaf River Baptist Church pastor, Dr. Danny Dickerson, will officiate the services.  

Pall bearers are Cody Crenshaw, Terry Hammons, Ty McNeil, Cory Nelson, Anthony Sorey and Brian Warren,  

Honorary pall bearers are J.T. Childs, Wayne Culliver, Mitchell Hammons, James McIntosh, Jerry Smith and Don Waites.