Merle Thornton Paynter, age 93, of Ponca City, Oklahoma passed away July 10, 2019 at his home. A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, 1101 North 4th Street, Ponca City, with Rev. Mark Mozeik officiating. Thornton will be laid to rest at Odd Fellows Cemetery prior to the celebration.
Merle was born on February 10, 1926 in Ponca City, Oklahoma to Merle C. and Dorothy Margaret (Thornton) Paynter. He grew up in Ponca City, and graduated in 1944 from Ponca City High School where he played trumpet in the Jazz Band. He joined the U.S. Navy during WWII, completed his boot camp in San Diego, CA, and was deployed for the battle of Okinawa, where he served on the Naval Airbase on the island as a Yeoman 1st Class during the battle for the island. He was decorated for his service to his country and was proud of the fact that he was part of the Greatest Generation to have served this nation. He was a member of VFW Post 1201, Ponca City, OK, and was an active member of the First Lutheran Church until health concerns caused to reduce his activities.
He married Jonece (Joni) Jayne Mead in 1953 at the First Christian Church in Ponca City. They were married 66 years, until his passing. He attended Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, OK, and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, on the GI Bill, majoring in Business Administration. He had an independent insurance office, and sold real estate for a number of years. In 1964, he purchased Courtesy Laundry in the 300 block of North 9th Street, which he operated 7 days a week for 17 years. He worked at Nickles Machine for 7 years, and eventually retired, but worked during his retirement at Bridgeway in a part-time capacity, where he finally retired at age 82.
Survivors include his wife and son Steven, of the home. Son Stanley J. Paynter and his wife, Grace, currently working in the State of Kuwait for the US Government. Grandchildren include Stanley Scott Paynter of Edmond, OK, Jason Russell Paynter and his wife Allison, of Washington, D.C., and Chelsea Marie Paynter, of Port Charlotte, FL. Also surviving him is a sister, Katherine (Paynter) Johnson, of Dallas, TX, and numerous nieces and nephews. Great-grandchildren include Madison Paynter, daughter of Jason and Allison, and Aubrey, daughter of Stanley Scott.
Preceding him in death were his parents.
Casket bearers will be Wesley, Tracy, and Spencer Young, all nephews of Thornton, and Stanley Scott, Jason, and Chelsea Paynter.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Lutheran Church, 1101 N. 4th Street, Ponca City, Oklahoma 74601. The family would like for you to leave memories of Merle at www.troutfuneralhome.com.