T hornton Funeral Home, P.A. a family owned and family operated business, was established in Charles County, Maryland in 1968 by Mr. Leon Thornton and his wife Margaret. Leon Thornton was born in Ashburn, Virginia, and at the tender age of 17, accompanied his father to a funeral home to make funeral arrangements for his mother. He realized then that funeral service would be his life’s calling. After graduating from Echols College of Mortuary Science, he relocated to Washington, D.C. to become an apprentice at a well-established funeral home. Although Margaret was born in Washington, D.C., she was a lifetime resident of Charles County, Maryland.
Leon and his wife Margaret—who at the time was a schoolteacher—worked very hard saving money to buy a house. This house became the first location of the funeral home. Their Victorian-style home was large enough to house their family, consisting of their daughter Lydia, their son Leon, and their niece Tanja. The first floor became the funeral home as the living and dining rooms were converted into a chapel that held approximately 50 to 75 people. One bedroom was converted into the office, and another bedroom became the selection room. Because there was no preparation room at this location, Leon traveled to Washington, D.C. to prepare the remains; he would then bring them back to the funeral home for the service. Sometimes, chairs even had to be borrowed from the Masonic Temple, located just next door.
While Leon was busy directing funerals and building the business, Margaret continued to teach school by day. By night, she faithfully worked as the Vice-President, Financial Officer, Bookkeeper, and Administrative Assistant for the funeral home. After 30 years of dedicated service, she retired from the Charles County school system in order to focus all of her attention on the needs of the funeral home and her family.
As the family’s commitment to service and community grew, so did their business. In 1977, a beautiful new chapel was built adjacent to the home. The new chapel could now seat approximately 200. In 1979, another addition was built to include new restrooms, a preparation room, and a four-car garage. In 1988, another chapel and working office space was added.
After graduating from Charles County Community College in 1979 and at her mother Margaret’s request, Lydia enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia in order to obtain her degree in Mortuary Science. In 1982, Lydia became a licensed funeral director; in 1988, she became a full time staff member of Thornton Funeral Home, P.A. Tanja obtained a degree in Business Administration and worked for the federal government as a Personnel Management Specialist; she resigned after 15 years of service to return to the funeral home and work with the family in the area of administration and Leon, while holding down a full time job in another field, extends a helping hand in the area of audio visual and anywhere else that he is needed.
In 1997, the family suffered a tremendous loss when Margaret suddenly died. Though devastated, the family pushed through their grief and continued to serve their community in funeral service. Her death brought about an even deeper compassion and commitment to the families they serve.
The motto behind the care at Thornton Funeral Home, P.A. is “Service to Meet Your Needs.” They consistently achieve this goal by constantly evaluating and adding services that they know will enhance the quality of your visit. That is why a final edition was added, including new arrangement offices, a family room with fire place, multi-stall restrooms, and an inviting selection room. But this commitment also extends beyond the doors of the funeral home; Thornton Funeral Home, P.A. even hosts free Pre-Planning workshops available to community organizations, churches and individual families.
The philosophy of Thornton Funeral Home, P.A. speaks volumes about their service and their commitment. Simply stated, “It is our purpose to give thoughtful service, and if in so doing we have helped to lighten your burden, our aim has been accomplished.”
If you would like more information about us or any of the services that we offer, please feel free to contact us at 301-283-6841 or 301-375-7855.