Aden Gordon Thornock was born on Oct. 31, 1944, in Logan, Utah to Aden Kay and Kathleen Rex Thornock. His was a happy childhood in the quiet town of Randolph, Utah. Recently, Dad described the Thornock Ranch next to the Otter Creek as “the best place in the world to grow up.”
At age 20, Dad left home to serve as a full-time missionary in the Eastern States mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There, he had the opportunity to work at the World’s Fair in New York City during the summer of 1965. Dad often shared his experiences from the Church pavilion at the World’s Fair and later wrote that it felt “good to look those people in the eye and tell them you know Joseph Smith is a prophet.”
Not long after his missionary service, Dad met his sweetheart, Danalee Knouse, and they were sealed for time and all eternity in the Logan Temple on June 21, 1968. Together, mom and dad raised eight children — four boys and four girls — in the town of Cokeville. To support his large family, dad worked two full-time jobs as a cattle rancher and with his father-in-law and brother-in-law at the truck stop.
His was a life of laughter and service. He was a member of the Wyoming National Guard, the Cokeville Planning and Zoning Committee, the Lincoln County School Board, the Cokeville Rodeo Committee, the Rocks Springs Grazing Board, and the Bear River Water Commission. But more importantly for him, was his leadership and service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as the Teachers and Priests quorum president, Young Men’s president, stake seventy, scout master, merit badge counselor, ministering brother, Sunday school teacher, gospel doctrine teacher, High Council, High Priest group leader, Stake Sunday school presidency and as a temple worker in the Star Valley Temple. At age 34, Dad was called to serve as the newly created Cokeville Second Ward Bishop and supported his ward family as they coped with the bombing at the grade school.
Coupled with his community and church service, dad faithfully fulfilled his sacred roles as a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, neighbor and friend. Armed with an endearing sense of humor and an unshakeable testimony of the restored gospel, he stood as a beacon in the community but never shined more brightly than within the walls of his own home.
Just as comfortable on a horse as he was standing at the pulpit, dad’s legacy of love and service will continue on in the lives of his children: Scott (Karie), Shawn (Amy), Leigh Ann (Jeremy), Kara (Fred), Krista (Zack), Jaclyn (Jake), Alec and Kason and his 21 grandchildren. Dad slipped peacefully into the eternities on Oct. 20, 2020, after a brave fight with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His goodness is forever anchored in our hearts.