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Rev. Dale Hughes Thornton

July 09, 2018
Reverend Dale Hughes Thornton died unexpectedly at his home in Hinesville, Georgia on July 6, 2018.

Dale is survived by his wife and best friend, Marlene Nettles Thornton.

Reverend Thornton was born on December 25, 1954, at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC. He grew up in Savannah and graduated from Armstrong State College in 1976 with a BS in Music education and a BA in Music Performance specializing in organ. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1986. Dale and Marlene were married on August 21, 1976.

Dale was an Elder in Full Connection in the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. During his career as a pastor, Dale and Marlene served the Howard Charge, Dudley Charge, Bass UMC in Macon, Louisville UMC, Lakeland UMC, Avalon UMC in Albany, Edgewood UMC in Columbus, Trinity UMC in Waycross, St. Mary’s UMC, and Hinesville First UMC. Pastor Dale was a true servant of God and had an amazing ability to make everyone feel welcome and loved. In his role as minister and pastoral counselor he touched and helped change more lives during his ministry than any of us will ever know.

Dale was an accomplished musician who played piano, organ, electronic keyboard, and a variety of other instruments, the most recent being his beloved melodica. He loved several genres of music, including but not limited to, classical, jazz, blues, and gospel. Dale was a big-time movie buff, tech geek, enjoyed photography, and was an avid reader. Dale and Marlene enjoyed travel adventures such as animal encounters, jazz festivals, and beach walks. Dale was a compassionate individual who dedicated his life to serving God and others. His legacy will live on through the many people who were touched by his loving personality and generous spirit.

A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, July 15 at 5 p.m. at Hinesville First United Methodist Church. Marlene will receive visitors after the service at the church. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Reverend Dale’s life.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to Hinesville First United Methodist Church, 203 N. Main Street, Hinesville, GA  31313.

Carter Funeral Home Oglethorpe Chapel is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be made at

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