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Marian Harris Thornberry

Obituary for Marian Harris Thornberry

February 17, 1916 - March 18, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 103


Marian Harris Thornberry was born on February 17, 1916 in Smithville, Texas, the third daughter of Robert Kinkle Harris and Bess Nichols Harris. Upon graduating from high school in Smithville she attended the University of Texas where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. It was there that she met her first husband, Martin Benton Winfrey, the father of her two children, Elizabeth and Richard. They were married in the University Methodist Church in Austin on June 14, 1936.

Martin died unexpectedly in 1944 when Marian was 28. She returned to Smithville with her two children, where she threw herself into her lifelong role as caregiver to the many. She took care of her ailing mother for three years and managed the affairs of her Smithville family. Her mother died in 1947, and Marian moved to Houston. Later, she spent several years near Lake Buchanan in Burnet County. In 1981 she moved back to Austin and in 1990, she married a lifelong friend, Judge Homer Thornberry. They enjoyed six glorious years together, and travelled much of the world during that time. Judge Thornberry died in 1995.

She died peacefully at home on March 18, 2019. She was pre-deceased by her mother, Bess Nichols Harris, and father, Robert Kinkle Harris; her husbands, Martin Winfrey and Homer Thornberry; her sisters Bess Harris Jones and Virginia Harris Cockrell and step-daughters, Kate Thornberry and Margaret "Peggy" Winfrey Alexander.

She is survived by her sister Carolyn Harris Hynson; her daughter Elizabeth Winfrey Hofheinz and son Richard Lee Gilliam and his wife Pamela Gilliam of Austin; by her grandchildren Paul Hofheinz and his wife Ann Mettler, their children Lennart and Aiden, of Brussels, Belgium; Tracey Hofheinz, her husband Philippe Montauriol, their children Nicolas, Maxime and Louis, of Paris, France; Powell Gilliam, and his children, Ava and Jack, and their mother Sarah Gilliam; Spencer Gilliam of Austin, Texas; her stepchildren Molly Thornberry Schiller and husband Judge Berle Schiller; David Thornberry; and step-grandchildren Ross Tomlin, Dalton Tomlin and wife Anne.

Marian, known by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as "Mean," will be missed by all who knew her. She was a true native of Texas with friends and acquaintances all over the state, from all walks of life. Her gracious personality endeared her to all who touched her life and she will be remembered for the kind and generous person that she was.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. David's Episcopal Church Foundation in Austin, Texas

Her children would like to thank the caregivers who made it possible for their mother to remain at home with Oliver, her beloved cat.

Services will be announced at a later date.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. David's Episcopal Church Foundation in Austin, Texas.

Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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