The family of Thornton Van Buren Keith, 90, son of Van Buren and Martha (Cass) Keith, are saddened to announce that our patriarch died on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, at the Cove Guest Home, where he resided for the last two years.

Thornton was a gregarious character who spoke to everyone he came across. He worked for the beauty industry selling beauty products across the Maritimes. Thornton made friends wherever he travelled. Even though Lewy-Body Dementia took the full extent of his engaging social sparkle away, he never lost the ability to make someone’s day by telling them how beautiful they are.

Thornton generously gave his time to community service and worked tirelessly for the MS Society. Literally hundreds of MS Christmas Cakes flew out of his house every holiday season! He was a lifetime member of the United Commercial Travellers. Thornton loved his volunteer time (Special Olympics, etc.) and social connections with the UCT. The family is grateful to its membership who always kept in touch with him.

Thornton volunteered at his churches in Sydney – first the Sydney United Baptist Church and then United Heritage Church. He and his wife, Marg, were responsible for leading the campaign to provide a wheelchair lift at his church, as well as supporting the acquisition and use of the audio-visual equipment. For many years, he was a familiar figure with Sydney Minor Hockey.

Thornton was predeceased by his wife Margaret, who he was devoted to and cared for during her long time living with MS. He was also predeceased by son, Jamie (Sydney); brothers, Theodore and Edmund; sisters, Ginevra and Constance (all of New Brunswick).

Thornton is survived by children, Bruce (Rosemary Godin), Sydney, Greg, Calgary, Cheryl Keith-Lothier, Sydney, and David (Nadine MacKinnon), Halifax; grandchildren, Andrew Lothier, Jonathan Lothier, and Derek (Leigha) Lothier, Sydney, and Kaden Keith, Halifax; great-grandchildren, Landon Lothier and Sadie Grace Lothier; sisters, Marjorie and Nara (New Brunswick).

The family is eternally grateful to all the staff at the Cove and to Dr. Archibald for their care of Thornton both before and during his time living among them. He was a bigger-than-life personality, and we cherish both our memories, and all those who called him friend.

There will be no visitation for the late Thornton Keith. Memorial service will take place on Friday, December 15, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Pier Community Funeral Home, 1092 Victoria Rd. (entrance on Church St.), Whitney Pier with Rev. Allan MacLellan officiating. Reception will follow the service and interment will take place in Forest Haven Memorial Gardens, Sydney.

For those unable to attend, Live Streaming will be available on our website.

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Donations in memory of Thornton may be made to the MS Society of Cape Breton or the Cove Guest Home Foundation.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.

Online Condolences

I would like to extend sincere condolences to the Keith family on the passing of Thornton. My mother Julia Young who operated Franlies in North Sydney for years before her passing thought the world of Thornton as a friend and business associate.. I would often drive to Sydney to pick up much needed supplies mom had unexpectedly run out of. Thornton would always greet me with a big smile and and a greeting for mom. He was a nice guy!
From:  Brian Young

I was and am very distressed about hearing this news and the fact that I cannot attend the memorial. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers
From:  Shirley Ann MacNeil