DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Dothan icon and Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Press Thornton has passed away.
Known for his love of golf and the golfing tournament his father created, Dr. Thornton spent his life helping others and playing the game he loved.
There were three things Dr. Press Thornton, Jr. loved more than anything in the world.
“His family, his faith, his catholic faith here in town and that tournament,” said Keven Klein, Future Masters tournament director.
Better known as the the Press Thornton Future Masters, Thornton spent much of his adult life growing the tournament his father started years before.
“He grew it to the level it is now, to one of the biggest golf tournaments in the country,” Klein said.
It wasn’t just his love for golf that made Dr. Thornton was well known. It was his love for the players that made him become a Wiregrass icon.
“He’d go up there and put his arm around them and talked about how much they’d grown and ask how their year was and how their game is,” Klein explained. “And he was like a big kid because he loved them so much and he could relate to them on their level, and it was truly fun to watch.”
While Dr. Thornton might be gone, his stories and legacy will live on.
“Fifty years old they look back at the day, remember we met Dr. Thornton here for this one time and this tournament,” Klein said. “It’s a lifelong memory for a lot of these families and kids.”
And in the words of Dr. Press Thornton himself:
“There’s no way to describe the feeling, the satisfaction that I’ve had. I’m sure (this is) the best junior tournament in the world.”
Dr. Thornton was 91 years old. His 92 birthday was to be next month.