Karen Norma Thornton was born on December 23, 1951 and passed away on November 26, 2022 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka. She lived in either Eureka or Redding all of her life. She worked at Big Loaf Bakery, giving out samples at local stores including Costco. She then became a worker for Humboldt County’s In-Home Supportive Services, specializing in clients who were at the end of their lives.

Karen was a gifted artist, writer and photographer with an eye for beauty, taking many photos of wildlife, a shed in a field or a single flower on a bush. Karen loved the outdoors and enjoyed spending time at the river and camping. She also had a special calling for downtrodden, hurting and abandoned souls, and would often stop a stranger to ask how they felt or what they needed, giving them her last dollar if she thought they needed it. She would take cups of coffee to people sitting at Ross Park and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a homeless man who walked by her house on a regular basis. Karen’s love for animals was like no other – she never met an animal or child she didn’t love. And children returned that love because she got down on their level.

Karen was predeceased by her parents, Kenny and Marian Sells, her brother, Kenny Sells Jr., her sister, Kathleen McRae, her ex-husband, Mike Thornton, and her beloved son, James “Jim” Thornton. She never truly recovered from Jim’s death. She is survived by her daughter, Trudy Thornton of Eureka, and her grandchildren, Corey Thornton of Eureka, James Thornton, Michael Thornton and Samantha Pope of Redding. Surviving great-grandchildren include Kadin Thornton, Zoey Thornton, and Bo Thornton. She is also survived by her cousins, Marian Parker, of Oregon, and Michelle Marlatt of Idaho, Skip McRae of Eureka, and Caroline Dominquez of Florida.

Karen’s devotion to God was her life and her special and unwavering faith got her through life. She read her Bible and had morning devotions every day. She was a “prayer warrior” and would often call her church for prayer requests, not necessarily for her own needs but for the needs of others. She was a 37-year member of Eureka Faith Center Foursquare Church. Her friends were her life-line, and her family would like to acknowledge friends Hellen Kelley, Pam Robblee, Roberta Womack, Adele Maggi, Barbara Schreiber, Cathy Moore, Kathy Costa and Paula Ann Coburn for always being there for her.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Faith Center Foursquare Church located at 1032 Bay Street, Eureka, CA - (707)-442-1784. The Administration Building entrance doors will be open to the public at 10:45 a.m. for the service in the Dome, and there will be a coffee and cookie reception following.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Karen Thornton’s loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.