PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Walter Thornton took over the Thornton Bonding Company from his dad and uncle but his true love was covering and coaching football.
A purple ribbon was placed on the front door of his business. A sign in the garden declared that this is the home of a Panther fan.
Walter's wife Sheri, her brother Terry Hodges and an employee sat on a swing in front of Thornton's office reminiscing about a man everybody loved.
Hodges said,"He cared about everybody. He never met a stranger." He added,"It seemed like everywhere you went in Pascagoula everybody knew him or anywhere around the coast. A wonderful guy. Someone I'll deeply miss. Just a great man. I just can't say enough good things about Walter."@
Thornton worked at a number of radio stations in Jackson County, most recently at WVGG and WPMO. Walter was a volunteer coach at Moss Point and at Pascagoula High School, serving under head coach Lewis Sims.
Monday afternoon a few of his former players were painting the railings at the stadium.Jullian Jackson graduated from Pascagoula this season. He was defensive back on the Panthers football team.
Jackson said coach Waldo... will be missed.
"He was just a great coach,"stated Jackson. "He was part of our coaching staff that helped mold our team that got us to where we were this season and the past seasons that we had. It's a heartbreaker to hear something like that."
Kenny Holloway was the Panthers starting free safety. He says if something didn't go right, coach Thornton would get them through the dilemma.
Holloway said,"Something bad happened, he would always make a joke under his breath. He got on the D-line a lot because he was a D-lineman. So he always knew what to say to those guys."
Walter Thornton was a standout defensive tackle on the 1976 Pascagoula Panthers football team that captured the state championship.