MARY PANTHEA SOLOMON THORNE began her heavenly travels to join her parents, sisters, brothers, husband, son and ancestors on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, at Sentara Nursing Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was born on April 13, 1921, in Hollister, (Halifax County) North Carolina, and was the tenth child of the twelve children born to James Ivory Solomon and Estelle Lee Solomon. Her mother passed when she was about four years old, and subsequent to the passing of her father, Lucinda and William “Bill” Cyrus became her step-parents.
Mary attended the old Tabron School in Hollister and progressed to only the fourth grade, as family matters on the farm took precedence. A fourth grade education doesn’t necessarily define a person’s character. According to family history, Mary possessed an outward, cheerful, and supportive spirit towards family prosperity on the Solomon farm and participated in daily chores that were required at that time.
Mary was baptized into the Christian faith by joining the Lee’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina, during her early life and was an active member for many years. During ensuing years, she also enjoyed memberships at the Living Stone Baptist Church and Concord Baptist Church both in Brooklyn, New York, and Union Baptist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, but Mary always considered Lee’s Chapel her “Home church” in heart and spirit.
In the early 1940’s, Mary met the love of her life, Hartwell, one of those “Thorne boys” who eventually went off to serve in the United States Army during World War II. After his discharge in 1945, Mary left North Carolina, and relocated to East Orange, New Jersey to work as a domestic, initially residing with her brother and sister-in-law, James and Clara Solomon.
On February 23, 1947, Mary and Hartwell were united in Holy Matrimony and moved to Brooklyn, New York. On April 9, 1948, and March 25, 1949, they welcomed the births of their two children, Hartwill, Jr. and Lester Melvin. After making sure that their children received a better education than they had, they returned to Littleton and settled in the Sunnyside community.
Mary enjoyed supporting her husband, raising their two boys, cooking for family and friends, maintaining a sparkling clean household, sewing, attending church services and bible studies, and volunteering whenever she was asked to do so.
In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her youngest son, Lester, on April 23, 1989; her husband, Hartwell, who touched the face of his Lord on February 19, 1992; her brothers, Elijah, Herbert, Luther, James and Samuel; her sisters, Helen, Beatrice, Rebecca, and Louise; numerous in-laws; paternal and maternal cousins, nieces, and nephews. Throughout the passing of her family and friends over the years, Mary still believed that “God was in Control” and never questioned her Lord as to “Why”?
Those left to forever treasure the many precious memories of her life, her love, and her wisdom are her son, Hartwill, Jr. of Portsmouth, VA; her granddaughter, Simone Turner of Texas; her grandson, Jerrell R. Thorne of Hollywood, FL; her sisters, Alice S. Harris of Hollister, NC, and Nevy M. Solomon of Nashville, NC; her faithful sisters-in-law, Lillian A. Solomon of Willingboro, NJ, Pearlene A. Thorne of Raleigh, NC, and Hattie A. Silver of Hollister, NC; her adopted granddaughter, Ardena P. Jordan of Norfolk, VA; a “daughter-in-Christ”, Minister Audrey Taylor of Newark, DE; her god-son, Sergeant Tommie R. Coppage (Ret) of Chesapeake, VA; her special friends, Alan and Verla Wiltshire of Bear, DE; and numerous nieces, great- nieces, great-great-nieces, nephews, great-nephews, great-great-nephews, second and third generation cousins, and many special friends of her family.
Mary leaves cherished memories to her sisters of the American Legion Post 425 Ladies’ Auxiliary in Littleton, NC; her extraordinary caretakers at Bell’s Residential Adult Care, Sentara Nursing Center, Maryview Medical Center, Dr. Elizabeth Carr, and Dr. Regina Davis all of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Mary’s life of ninety-four years didn’t take her to Paris, Rome, or Spain. She wasn’t world famous or a Hollywood movie star. Mary taught her children, grandchildren, and family by example, remained steadfast in her religious beliefs, and lived a life of simplicity, principle, and faith. She gave everyone she met her charity, goodwill, and a smile. Mary was grounded in the belief of the “Golden Rule”. . . “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
A wake will be held from 1:00 -2:00 P.M. with funeral services to follow at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at Robinson Funeral Home Chapel, 215 US Highway 158, Littleton, NC. Rev. James Johnson will deliver the eulogy, and interment will follow in the Thorne family Cemetery in Littleton.