Orville David Thornberry (Dave or David)
August 23, 1942 – September 3, 2021
Orville David Thornberry was drafted into Heaven’s team on September 3, 2021. When the call came, his wife of 59 years and six children were with him, at his home in Florissant Colorado, to help prepare for the next chapter and journey to the biggest league. The home was also filled with some of his 23 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. June (his dog) carried her ball into each room, providing support for all, and kept coming in to check on him as if to say “wanna have a catch, Dad?”
Dave, or David was born August 23, 1942 in his grandmother’s home in Hotchkiss, Colorado to Beulah and Myrvill Thornberry. He was the first of eight children and is survived by all seven of his siblings. He will be greeted by his father who passed in 1959 and mother in 1983.
He attended Monte Vista High School and was drafted into the army in December 1960. He served 2 years as military police and criminal investigator He was discharged in December 1962.
On December 8, 1961 he married Linda Akin in a small ceremony at her parent’s home in Hotchkiss, Colorado. After their vows they moved to Virginia for a year while he completed his army commitment.
Once discharged from the Army they returned to Colorado and settled in Monte Vista where their first child, Connie, was born in 1963.
While he was in high school, he had begun hanging out at the local radio station KSLV. He loved music and they eventually trained and hired him where he pulled a DJ shift while still in high school. After the Army he returned to continue a career as a DJ at KSLV. After a year he took a DJ job at KYVA in Gallup New Mexico. His second child, Theresa, was born there in 1962 and this is also where he became the Marvelous Myrv show (in memory of his father). Gallup is on the legendary Route 66 and was a stopping point for aspiring musicians and he met a number of big names like Glen Campbell, Brenda Lee and Fats Domino, before they became household names and stars. He left Gallup to DJ at KSTR in Grand Junction Colorado and his first son, Dennis, was born in 1967.
In 1968 they moved to Texas where he got his associates degree in computer programming from Rutherford College, Dallas. He did a short internship at the Byer Rolnick Hat Factory before getting a programmer job at the City of Haltom City. He spent most of his programmer analyst career at the City of Mesquite and then approximately 3 years at the City of Richardson. He was easily recognized by his mustache and the used punch cards he carried in his pocket and used for making notes. He had impeccable handwriting where his printing looked like it was typed and his cursive was compared to calligraphy.
Also, while in Texas, he began coaching girls fastpitch softball in 1976 for his oldest daughter’s team. His fourth child, Darcy, was born in 1975 and by the time she was five he started working with her to teach her to pitch. He became the coach of her team when she began playing at 7 and had also joined the Garland Girls Softball Association as a board member. He served 8 years as president of the association and was part of a team that encouraged the city to build a three field youth softball complex. This allowed them to bid on and eventually host the 16 and under National Girls Fastpitch Tournament in 1990. He coached his daughter’s team that was in this same tournament. It was a combination of his coaching and the drive to excel, that she learned from him, that allowed her to compete at the college level for 4 years as a pitcher.
While in Texas, a second son, Marshall, was born in 1977 and fourth daughter, Alicia, born in 1979, bringing the family total to six kids. In October of 1990 they moved “home” to Colorado and settled in Teller County.
He began as assistant softball coach at Woodland Park High School in 1991 during Darcy’s senior year. He would eventually become the Varsity Girls Softball coach and Junior Varsity Boys Baseball coach. He coached, in some capacity, at WPHS from 1991 to 2013. In 18 years, he coached the lives of hundreds of kids, both on and off the field. This included: 2 daughters and adopted daughter, Holly, in softball; his son in baseball and wrestling (volunteer coach) and 2 grandsons in baseball. He also had 2 granddaughters who assisted as managers for his teams. As if that wasn’t enough, he also refereed football and basketball and was at just about every sporting event possible in any capacity if his help or support was needed. He also played and umpired slow-pitch softball through Parks and Recreation.
He left WPHS to recover from a health issue and once able he began working at Cripple Creek Victor High School as a Paraprofessional for Special Education. He was able to get, June, his chocolate Labrador certified as a service dog, and she was his daily companion at school assisting with the kids and even providing support to some teachers who would stop by because they “needed a June hug”. He was moved from the high school to elementary school where he was trained and certified as a special education reading specialist. It wasn’t long before he was asked to coach the CCVHS baseball team, which he did for 4 years. He also became an announcer for other Cripple Creek High School sports when he wasn’t coaching. He was 76 when his health began to affect his ability to coach and teach and he chose to “retire”.
Besides his love for the game, he loved to fish. He also turned his love of photography into a minor career and has taken many Senior portraits and photographed several weddings, even some for former players and students.
His love of music never faded, and his library was extensive. He also DJ’d several weddings and events when he wasn’t coaching, fishing, taking pictures or visiting with grandkids and great grandkids.
In his final months he was able to travel to Gunnison to see relatives he hadn’t seen in years. He attended the Teller County Fair and was able to announce a few events as his voice never left him. He also never lost his optimism, sense of humor and ability to laugh at life.
Several times this summer he was able to go fishing with kids, grandkids and great grandkids. On his 79th birthday, August 23rd, he caught FIVE (though one got away, it still counts!).
He was blessed to have passed peacefully at his home, from Renal and Coronary Artery failure, surrounded by so many of his family. It had been a long battle that took him from this world, but one that he fought hard with courage and determination.
Celebration of life will be at the Cripple Creek High School Gymnasium on October 30, 2021 at 11 in the morning. 410 N. B Street, Cripple Creek, Colorado
We are thankful to all the family and friends who have provided support and help during this time.
In Lieu of Flowers the family requests donations, in his honor, to youth sports organizations, 4H, Kidney Foundation, Heart Association, Cancer Society, and Teller County Association of Fairs and Shows.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Orville David Thornberry, please visit our floral store.