School 10

Gwendolyn Harriet Lewis-Thornton-Johnson

July 22, 1935 ~ August 23, 2021 (age 86)


After having been infirmed for several years, Gwen remained cheerful, optimistic, and interested in life.  She often engaged in telephone visits with her sisters, engaging in conversations about national and global politics.  On August 23, 2021, she peacefully entered God's heavenly domain.

Gwendolyn was born July 22, 1935, in East Chicago, Indiana.  She was the eldest child born to Jacob ( Jack) Leo Lewis and Gladys Lewis.  Gwen had four sisters and one stepbrother: Norma Jean Lewis-Findley-Banks, Phyllis Ann Lewis-Johnson, Jacqualin Lewis, Consuella Lewis and Phillip Leo Lewis.  The family moved from East Chicago to Gary, Indiana in 1952.  Beginning in early childhood, Gwen was a talented classically trained pianist, her favorite movement was Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14.  She attended East Chicago Roosevelt High School and graduated from Gary Roosevelt High School in 1953.  Several years after graduation, she met and married Raymond Thornton who was in the United States Armed Services.  Her martial union produced five lovely children: twins- Raymond Thornton, II and Ronald Thornton, Keith Thornton, Derek Thornton, and Rhonda Thornton.  Gwen loved raising her children as evidenced by their career successes as college graduates.  Sadly, her husband Raymond Thornton passed away and Gwen was widowed at an early age.

Gwen earned an Associate degree in elementary education from Purdue University-Northwest Campus.  She was a social worker at Frederick Douglass Elementary School.  In addition to her musical talent, she was an outstanding artist and clothing designer. Later, she became reacquainted with and married Robert Johnson.  Robert became a supportive and loving stepfather to her children.

Gwen was baptized at Antioch Baptist Church in East Chicago and later became a member of St. Timothy Community Interdenominational Church in Gary, Indiana.  In the latter half of her life, she joined St. John Lutheran Church.  After retirement both Gwen and Robert worked for the Foster Grandparents Program with the Gary Indiana School System.

Gwen was preceded in death by her parents, Jacob and Gladys Lewis, stepbrother, Phillip Leo Lewis, and sisters, Jacquelin Lewis, Phyllis Ann Lewis-Johnson, and her son, Ronald Thornton, husbands, Raymond Thornton, Sr. and Robert Johnson. 

She leaves to cherish her loving memories: her daughter, Rhonda Thornton of Merrillville, Indiana, and sons, Raymond Thornton of Rancho Cucamonga, California, Keith Thornton of Oakland, California, and Derek (Maxine) Thornton of Richland, Washington; grandsons, Raymond Douglas Thornton of Van Nuys, California (Raymond), Kyle (Lakisha) Morris of Houston, Texas (Rhonda), Cedric Moss (Derek and Maxine); great-grandchildren, Autumn Rae (Raymond Douglas Thornton and Soledad Espinosa) and Kobe Moss and Justice Moss (Cedric and Sasha); sisters, Norma Jean Lewis-Findley-Banks of Indianapolis, Indiana, Consuella Lewis of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Adrienne Seward of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and a host of cousins in Indianapolis, East Chicago, Henderson Nevada, Michigan, Texas, and nephews and nieces in Costa Rica, Washington DC, and Indianapolis. Arrangements for the Memorial Celebration of Gwendolyn's life will be private for family and friends at a future date due to covid restrictions.

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