Cover photo for Catherine Janice Thornton's Obituary

Catherine Janice Thornton

July 18, 1941 — May 1, 2024

Goose Creek, SC

Catherine Janice Thornton

Catherine "Cookie" Bergan Thornton died peacefully on May 1, 2024, at her home in Goose Creek, South Carolina, surrounded by family. Catherine was born July 18, 1941, in Elkader, Iowa, the youngest of five children of Thomas and Nelly Kelly Bergan. 

As a teenager, Catherine loved to dance and spent many weekends going to dances with her brothers. 

After graduating St. Joseph's High School at age 16, she worked for a time at the Clayton County Clerk's Office in Elkader. She later moved to Nebraska, where she met Daryl Thornton, who was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. They married on May 2, 1964, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader.

Catherine and Daryl lived in Wattsburg and later near Union City, Pennsylvania, where their family grew to include their two daughters. Over the next several years, the family lived in West Virginia and Virginia before settling in Oscoda, Michigan. After their daughters graduated college, Catherine and Daryl briefly moved to Manhattan, Kansas, for work before transferring to South Carolina, where they lived the remainder of their lives.

Catherine was an artist at heart and enjoyed creating items that were useful or whimsical, depending on her mood, through ceramics, knitting, crochet and other crafts. 

She took up painting in her late 60s, capturing the beauty of natural landscapes and the memory of familiar places she had visited throughout her life.

Catherine loved animals of all kinds, and had many pet cats and dogs during her life. She had an adventurous spirit and enjoyed traveling, meeting people from all walks of life, and visiting national parks and other scenic and historical places across the country. Her last trip, to Grand Teton National Park, was an especially joyful visit to a place she had always wanted to experience. She loved to laugh and spend time with her nieces, nephews and other family. She will be remembered for her wit and sense of humor, which brought joy to everyone. 

Catherine was preceded in death by her husband, Daryl; her parents; her brother, Thomas Joseph Bergan; and sister, Patricia Roach; as well as sisters-in-law, Maureen and Marilyn Bergan and Roseanne Allen and brothers-in-law, Mike Roach and Gordon Allen. She was also preceded in death by three nephews and one grandnephew.   

She is survived by her daughters, Kimberly of Goose Creek, and Kelly (Lisa Church) of Moab, Utah; brothers, Mike (Ruth) and Bernard Began; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

At her request, Catherine will be cremated. A memorial celebration is being planned for a later time.   In lieu of flowers, the family encourages gifts or donations to a pet or children's charity in your community. 

Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

Arrangements have been entrusted to McAlister-Smith Funeral and Cremation, 869 St. James Avenue, Goose Creek, SC 29445, (843) 553-1511. 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Catherine Janice Thornton, please visit our flower store.


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