September 27, 2021
Jean L. Thornhill, more fondly known as “Queen Jean,” passed away peacefully on September 27, 2021, wearing her tiara and with her cherished family surrounding her. In April, the family had lovingly honored her with a royal celebration for her 90th birthday. While her mind and spirit remained strong, her body could no longer fight complications following cancer surgery. Born and raised by Helen and Perry Wright in Marengo, IL, Jean was the youngest of four daughters. She didn’t travel far to find her mate. In December she and her husband, Jerry Thornhill, longtime residents of Hampshire, IL, would have celebrated 70 years of marriage. They created a beautiful family of five daughters and enjoyed an amazing, active, and adventurous life together. Jean was a leader, a role model, and a remarkably caring person who left a profound legacy. Always being the one to host family/friend gatherings (often with a crazy skit or theme), she sent 150 cards annually for birthdays and anniversaries. Creative and talented, she delighted many with clever verses commemorating special events or found tucked in with a gift. She helped establish Camp Fire Girls in Hampshire, sang in the church choir and could be seen on the St. Charles Borromeo “Kitchen Band” parade float sporting a hat with dangling kitchen utensils and playing her kazoo. A successful AVON lady for 30 years, she loved dressing up and showing the ladies in town new scents and jewelry. Wife of the Hampshire Mayor, her popularity no doubt helped swing the election. A member of Woman’s Club, she would often provide the program, regaling members with their travels to New Zealand, Germany, or Alaska, or showing them her vast shell collection. Jean loved the beach and had a true zest for life. She gave her five daughters the gift of an annual Mother/Daughter Cruise where so many cherished and fabulous memories were made – a gondola ride in Venice, the Vatican in Rome, and snorkeling off Buck Island, St. Croix. Facebook exploded with postings of her parasailing over St. Thomas at 86, and again on Bonita Beach, FL only five months ago! at 90, and ziplining in the Dominican Republic at 88. With a beautiful unstoppable spirit, she was always ready for more. It was easy to forget she was legally blind with macular degeneration, especially as she remained an avid reader with the help of “playaway” books. With amazing longevity in her family, Jean is survived by her husband Jerry Thornhill (90) and her sister, Doris McNeese (100 in December). She leaves her five daughters Gail Thornhill, Susan Thornhill, Denise (Bill) Gower, Kathy (Rick) Hemphill and Marsha (Dickie) Wood along with five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. A celebration of Jean’s life will be held at the First Baptist Church in Marengo, IL, on Saturday, December 4 at 11 a.m. with a luncheon reception following. All are welcome. For safety, masks will be required. The family would love to hear any stories about Jean that you may wish to share. The family requests no flowers.
Jean L. Thornhill, more fondly known as “Queen Jean,” passed away peacefully on September 27, 2021, wearing her tiara and with her cherished family surrounding her. In April, the family had lovingly honored her with a royal celebration... View Obituary & Service Information
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