Christina Marie (Turturro) Thornton, Theresa, NY passed away Monday, May 16th at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, NY from complications of a medical procedure. She was 85 years young. She was born on April 11, 1931 in Watertown, NY to parents, Agostino and Frances (born Chiappone) Turturro, both Italian immigrants who entered the US through historic Ellis Island.
Christina graduated from Theresa High School in 1949. While a teenager, Christina had aspirations to be a fashion designer, and was accepted into the Parsons School of Design, but wasn’t able to attend, because of familial responsibilities. She never lost her creative impulse and flair and it manifested itself in elaborate award winning Halloween costumes, sketching, ceramics, crochet and delicious baked goods, which she sold out of her house, whenever extra money was needed. She loved to bake and baked her last two cakes for the staff of the famous Roxbury Motel, two days before she entered the hospital.
On October 26, 1952, she married Everett J. Thornton, everyone called him Red and he was originally from the town of Orleans. The ceremony happened at St. Anthony’s rectory, Watertown, because in those days, a Catholic wasn’t allowed to marry a Protestant in the church. They remained married nearly fifty years and were only separated by death, when Everett passed away on March 19, 2001.
The first few years of marriage the family moved between Theresa and Watertown, but soon settled at their home on Main Street, Theresa where Christina lived until the house was sold in 2010. Christina wore many hats in her career, often at the same time: waitress, teacher’s aide, overnight hotel bookkeeper, but it was in real estate sales that she found her niche. For over forty years she sold real estate in Jefferson County and was still a registered sales agent at the time of her death. She received her last commission checks just days ago and received an Emeritus Award for the longest active membership of the Jefferson/Lewis Board of realtors a few years ago. In this capacity she provided mentorship and entertainment to many young sales agents.
However her impressive skills in real estate paled with her champion friendship skills. Blessed with a “joie de vivre” and endless energy, Christina had an infinite capacity to connect to people and limitless amounts of empathy, compassion, humanity and good humor. She was Aunt Chris, Chrissy, Aunt Chrissy, Ma, Grandma, BFF, Gram, Tina and hundreds of other terms of endearment to so many. The age of her friends was remarkable as well; toddlers to Octogenarians confided in her. She could keep a secret, console you, support you, inspire you, scold you, humor and entertain you, sometimes in the same sitting. Everyone who knew Christina felt like their relationship with her was unique to them and they were right.
The last few months of her life were filled with joy, love, friends, family and fame. She stars in a local television commercial for Craig’s to Do List at WWNY, which is currently airing, highlighting her feisty but lovable nature. Chris is survived by her three children Tina Thornton (Wildhaber), Redwood, NY, Joanne Thornton and her husband Richard Nuijens, Redwood, NY, Craig Thornton and his partner Mariano Acevedo-Barahona, Watertown, NY; two sisters Linda Tamkus, Theresa, NY and Sheila (Kenneth Cooke), Rochester, NY. Two brothers, Michael and Agostino Turturro, one sister, Josephine Perrin and an infant child (Susan) predeceased her. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews, cousins and countless friends. “There is nothing more prized on this earth than true friendship” Thomas Aquinas.
Services are with Costello Funeral Services 113 Church Street, Alexandria Bay, NY. Calling Hours, Friday, May 20th, 2-4pm, and 6-8 pm with rosary circle at 6:15 pm. Funeral mass and memorial, May 21st, Saturday 1 pm. St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church, 318 Main Street, Theresa, NY a brief graveside burial to follow with a luncheon reception. Donations can be made in her name to SPCA of Jefferson County at www.jeffersoncountyspca.org.