Lynchburg Parents Set-up Scholarship After Son's Tragic Fall - - ABC13

Lynchburg Parents Set-up Scholarship After Son's Tragic Fall


Lynchburg, VA - The parents of a Lynchburg man who died in a tragic fall won't let his life be forgotten.

Lynchburg police say just after midnight on January 18, Peter Thornton fell off a second-story deck in the 300 block of Mill Lane Road. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Danny and Melissa Thornton want their son's life to continue touching others in a positive way.

They've set up a scholarship in Peter's name at his father's Alma Mater. The Peter Thornton Memorial Athletic Scholarship will pay for a student to attend Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.

After getting married, Melissa and Danny Thornton waited 10 years for their only son to be born.

"He came out bossing us around. And in a lot of ways, he thought he did that most of his life," Melissa recalled of her son's birth.

On January 18, 2014 they found themselves waiting again. This time, an EMT at Lynchburg General broke the news.

"He said, 'you're the mother aren't you?' And I said yes. And I said, he didn't make it did he?" Melissa says of learning her 22-year-old son had died.

Peter Thornton was hanging out on a deck at his friend's house when his parents say he leaned against the railing, and the deck collapsed, killing Thornton and injuring his friend.

"He was a man. And not just a man, but a good friend to me," Danny said of the relationship he had with his son.

Thornton attended James River Day School, E.C. Glass High School and studied business administration at Central Virginia Community College.

And two years ago, he found Katey Proffitt.

"He was my soul mate. I was his. I think that's the hardest thing," Proffitt said, holding their Golden Retriever named Bryer.

More than 600 friends and family packed Peakland United Methodist Church for Peter's funeral.

John Oldham remembered his childhood friend in his eulogy.

"He was a lover and a fighter, a hooligan, but above all else, he was my brother," Oldham said.

Perhaps that's Thornton's greatest legacy. Although his parents lost their only biological son, they still have hundreds more.

"A lot of people say they're your friend and some, very few and special people in your life, are your friend. They live your friend," Danny Thornton said.

Anyone interested in donating to Peter's scholarship can send a check to The VMI Keydet Club, Attn: Peter Thornton Memorial Athletic Scholarship, P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450.

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