Obit: Dave “Scout” Thornton

“Scout” in action at a Lions Club auction

David M. “Scout” Thornton, 70, of Main St. died suddenly Saturday, April 1 at the Kingston Hospital with the family at his side.

He was born Dec. 16 1946 in Kingston, the son of the late William D. Thornton and Elsie Jordan Thornton. He was a longtime resident of Saugerties where he grew up and raised his family.

David was a graduate of Saint Mary’s of the Snow and Saugerties High School class of 1965. After attending one year at Ulster County Community College to study business he joined the United States Army in 1967. He was rerouted from Vietnam and deployed to Korea during the Pueblo Conflict, where he served as a sergeant.


He returned to Ulster to complete his business degree before starting his career as a sales representative at New York State Information Centers in 1971— the same year he met his wife, Sheri. He later worked for Tra-Vel, which he and his business partner, Charles Daley Jr., eventually took ownership of. From there they went on to establish three additional travel and tourism companies: Henry Hudson Tours, Thruway Travel, and Destinations of New York. During this time, he published an annual New York State Golf Tour Guide and International Travel Magazine. His career spanned over 40 years, during which he received many awards of recognition including one for 40 years of exemplary service from the NYSTIA. In 1988, he received recognition from the I Love NY association for individual achievement and significant contributions to the travel and tourism industry.

“Scout” was an active member of the Saugerties community, serving as an MC for the Fourth of July Parade, Sawyer Car Shows and Hudson Valley Garlic Festival chef demonstrations with his wife Sheri. He was a volunteer auctioneer for several community charity auctions benefitting the Lions Club, Camp Grounds of NY, the Saugerties Historical Society, and the Boys and Girls Club. After returning from his service in Korea, he became a member of the American Legion Post 72, most recently serving as Chairman of the House Committee. He was a longtime member of the American Bus Association, and the SKAL Club, serving as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during his time there. He was a charter member of the Saugerties Historical Society and a former board member. He was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s of the Snow Parish and volunteered during their annual Spring Bazaar. With his jolly disposition, David played Santa for many children and family for over 30 years. He worked on the planning of the Donlon Celebration and the building of Small World Playground at Cantine Field.

He was passionate about history, the owner of hundreds of history books and a regular attendee of historical lectures at the Saugerties Library. An avid golfer, he frequented Black Head Mountain and Rip Van Winkle Country Club, and sponsored many golf trips and tours to Ireland. Known as “Good Time Scout,” he was the life of the party and spent many summer nights in his backyard surrounded by friends and family.

He and his wife Sheri celebrated 35 years of marriage and 50 years of love. They traveled and celebrated life together and had many friends to show for it. They started their family in Saugerties and had two beautiful daughters Sarah and Andria. He was proud of them and their accomplishments. Andria traveled the world with the SUNY Maritime Academy where she graduated as a lieutenant. Scout would track her on maps. His eldest daughter, Sarah was a decorated track & field athlete at the University of Rhode Island. He was proud to be “Rhody Dad” for life, and he was her biggest fan when she competed in the US Olympic trials.

Survivors include his loving wife of 35 years, Sherian, two daughters: Sarah of Boston and Andria Thornton of Pleasant Valley; a brother: Larry and his wife Leeanne Thornton of Saugerties; a sister : Joan Foley of Saugerties; and a sister-in-law: Nadine Thornton of Fairborne, OH. A host of cousins, nieces, nephews, brother and sister in laws also survive. He was predeceased by a brother, William (Bud) Thornton.

His funeral procession will form 10 a.m. Thursday, April 6 at the Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home, Inc., corner of John and Lafayette streets, Saugerties, and thence to St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church where at 11 a.m. a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered. Interment will follow with military honors. Friends will be received Tuesday 7-9 p.m. and Wednesday 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Family suggests donations in Scout’s memory be made to the Saugerties Public Library, Washington Ave. or the Saugerties American Legion Post 72, John St. Expressions of condolence may be shared with the family at