A "Thank You" Note In Our Time of Loss

written by Neal Thornton, Senior Pastor (April 22, 2023)

Vicki Thornton passed away on Monday morning April 10 at 8:50 a.m. After struggling for many years with sickness, she ended her days in the company of husband, daughter and son. See a previous post on her recent condition.

Vicki was my mother and a follower of Jesus Christ. I will miss her deeply, as any child would. Yet, “it is well with my soul” in that she believed Jesus shed his blood for her. My mother lived a life of repentance of sin, along with faith in Christ—who he was and that he had died in her place. Her life of simple obedience unto Him now brings more joy than ever. We have every hope that her soul is safe. Though it is hard to lose those you love the most, the comfort of Christ brightens the darkest of nights. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

The days leading up to her passing were particularly hard, emotionally and logistically. However, the Lord was kind and proved himself to be the God of the details. Further, we received an overwhelming amount of love and support over the last few weeks. Cards, messages, gifts and acts of service during our time of loss have been a salve to the soul and medicine to the mind. Moreover, there was a small constituency from Coats Baptist who made the trip to Knoxville to attend the funeral. To all who showed us love by proxy or in presence, we say “thank you.”

Words do not adequately express our appreciation for such love that was shown to us. May the Lord bless the people of Coats Baptist Church for the love they show to one another and most recently to their pastor’s family. In my mother’s final days, she asked me to preach her funeral. Few heavier burdens of joy have ever been laid upon a son. As an appreciation for so many who loved my mother and our family, I want to provide the manuscript of her funeral sermon, graveside service, and family remarks. It is a lengthy text I know, but perhaps this material will give insight into my mother’s life and to our family, give a sense of attendance to her services, and most of all, point you, dear reader, to the comfort that only Christ can give. (2 Cor. 1:1-11) Please see two attached documents below.

Please also continue to pray for my family, especially my father Sam. Like so many who have suffered a loss, it is a process. However, praise be unto God, we do not “grieve as others do who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13). Our Lord raises the dead who are in Christ. Allow me to leave you with my mother’s obituary, graciously written by my sister Erika Thornton Scott:

Victoria “Vicki” Lynn Thornton, 67, of Knoxville, TN passed away April 10th, 2023 surrounded by her children and husband of 49 years.


Vicki was born on February 9, 1956. She was a native of Memphis, TN and a 1973 Oakhaven High School graduate. Vicki was a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), seamstress, as well as a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.


Vicki was preceded in death by her parents, Algie and Rosemarie Cross; Hubert and Sybil Thornton Sr.; and brother, Jim Cross. She is survived by her husband, Samuel Neal Thornton Sr.; son, Samuel Neal Thornton Jr. (Ashley); daughter Erika Thornton Scott (Adam); brother Michael Cross (Becky); grandchildren Emma, Matthew, and John Thornton; and many extended family members.


Vicki loved spending time with her family, especially on a golf course or beach. She loved to garden, sew, and cook. She was also a long-time member of First Baptist Concord in Farragut, Tennessee.


Her strong will to live, unwavering faith in God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and supporters carried her through many years battling health conditions. Vicki loved the Lord and was eager for heaven, where she’d be in the presence of Jesus. She fought until the end and finished her race strong.


Funeral Sermon Manuscript
Graveside Service Manuscript + Family Remarks