Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from January 1, 1959, following his election until his death May 9, 1967.
Born at Omaha, Nebraska, June 17, 1911. He received his law degree from Creighton University Law School in Omaha in 1936. From 1943 to 1945 he served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy. Justice Thornton practiced law in Waterloo until his election to the Supreme Court.