Gene was one in a hundred million. More like a favorite uncle and confidante than a father in law. He had a very quiet but strong presence; never a critical word or judgmental thing to say no matter the issue. A tremendous go-to guy for anyone who knew him, his contribution to the community cannot be overstated but he always supported his family first. Luckily for the rest of us, Vicki and Steve share a lot of his strengths and will reflect Gene's personality and approach to life, especially the more difficult moments, like he would. He was proof that you don't have to be a famous or prominent person to make a huge difference in the lives of many people.
Eugene Harry "Cook" Thornburg, 85, of Danville died Friday, June 16, 2017 at Great River Medical Center, West Burlington. He was born November 26, 1931 at Mt. Pleasant, the son of John Edward and Leah Mae Seager Thornburg. On December 31, 1955, he married Norma Jean Sipe in Fairfield. He attended Mt. Pleasant High School. He enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War as a tailgunner on a B-36 named "The Peacekeeper" from 1950 - 1954. Following the service he was a telephone contractor for J. O. Morton and in 1958 moved to Danville with his family and became the general manager of the Danville Mutual Telephone Company retiring in 1995.
He was a member of Danville Congregational United Church of Christ and was church treasurer along with other positions. He served on the Danville City Council, the Board of Directors of Danville Mutual Telephone Company and Danville Bank and was on the board for Danville Nursing Home. When his son was a youngster, he coached little league and pony league. He was a volunteer fireman for 35 years, serving 5 years as chief; a diehard Cardinals and Hawkeyes fan; supporter of Danville student sports; enjoyed fishing, woodworking, morning coffee with the boys and time spent with grandchildren and his great-granddaughter, Korah. On May 16, 1988, in Des Moines he received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Community Service.
Besides his wife, he is survived by one daughter, Vicki (Robert) Branchini of Plainfield, Indiana; one son, Steve (Michelle) Thornburg of Bettendorf, Iowa; two sisters, Mary McKenzie and Rosezella Ford, both of Mt. Pleasant; three grandchildren, Patrick Branchini, Alyssa Thornburg and Logan Thornburg; one great-granddaughter, Korah Branchini; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; 5 brothers, Floyd, Melvin, Irvin, Rodney and Carl, and one grandson in infancy, Ryan Thornburg.
The funeral service for Mr. Eugene Thornburg will be held at 11:00 AM, Thursday, June 22 at Congregational United Church of Christ in Danville. Pastors Steven Parker and Carl Vass will officiate. Military rites by the Henry County Honor Guard will be held at the church with interment at Blakeway Cemetery, rural Danville.
Visitation will begin at noon Wednesday at Elliott Chapel, New London with the family present to greet friends from 5:00 - 7:30 PM.
Memorials have been established for Danville Congregational United Church of Christ and Danville Fire and Rescue.
I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Uncle Gene. I remember many days when he and Aunt Norma would stop in to visit Mom and Dad and how kind they were when our parents passed away. My love and prayers go out to Aunt Norma, Vicki and Steve and all their family.
Growing up Uncle Gene was always quick with a smile and laugh. He helped my Dad many times on projects around the house with expertise and of course laughter. My heart is heavy at his loss but my prayers are strong for his family. God Bless you all
He was an amazing man with a gentleness like no one. His love for his family, friends, neighbors, church and community was very important to him. As my father in law he was so special and will be greatly missed and was loved.