Diane Patricia Lynch Thornton

Mar 6, 1942 - Jan 7, 2021


Diane Patricia Lynch Thornton, 78, of Roseville, California, passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2021, at Sutter Roseville Medical Center from complications relating to lung cancer.

Diane was born on March 6, 1942, in Clinton, Iowa, to the late Joseph and Agnes (Curtis) Lynch. She is survived by her brother David Lynch of Spokane, Washington; her children Deborah Thornton Reyman (Matthew) of Sacramento, Richard Thornton (Izabela) of Sacramento, Robert Thornton (Michelle) of Auburn, Jason Thornton (Nicole) of Lincoln, and Jeremy Thornton (Renee) of Lancaster; and her eight grandchildren: Josiah, Bethany, Ian, Emma, Kaci, Nina, Olivia, and Megan.

Diane was preceded in death by her sisters Lois Yackshaw, Eileen Forest, Joan Short, and Janet Lemke, and her brother Carlos.

Diane was the youngest of seven children. She attended Saint Mary’s High School in Clinton and married Richard Thornton in 1964. Shortly after the wedding, the couple moved west, first to the Phoenix area and later to Monterey, California. The family settled in the canyons between Salinas and Monterey and raised five children. Diane’s sister Eileen moved her family to the area in 1968 and the two became deeply devoted friends, up until Eileen’s passing in 2016. Diane also treasured her many nieces and nephews throughout her life.

In 1991, Diane resettled in the Sacramento region to be closer to her children. She worked as a book keeper until her retirement in 2012. Although she suffered in her later years from rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, and lung cancer, she continued to follow her passions: reading, listening to audiobooks, watching college football, and staying in touch with friends and family.

Diane is remembered for her kindness, gentleness, beautiful smile, and bright blue Lynch eyes, that sparkled when she laughed or smiled. Nothing was more important to her than family. She relished all get-togethers and activities, from her granddaughters’ softball games to family celebrations to road trips with “the girls.” The recent lockdowns took a toll, but she kept up her spirits and her connections and was cared for lovingly by those closest to her.

In spite of being the baby of the Lynch family, she was proud of her strength and independence, but proudest perhaps of the family that she raised. She lives on in their hearts.

Donations may be made in memory of Diane to The Arthritis Foundation, 1355 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30309.


  • Rita M. Forest says:

    You will remain in my heart until I see you again in heaven. Until then, I’ll watch over your children.

  • Becky Jenkins says:

    My sweet Aunt Diane, you will be missed by so many. I loved your smile. Always reminded me of Mary Tyler Moore! I am thankful to have so many years with you and grateful to have you close. Thank goodness mom showed us how to love and cherish family. We will cherish you the resto of our lives!

  • Jill O’Brien says:

    So many road trips and camping trips were the best, but what I will miss most will be our lengthily phone conversations. Diane was my 2nd Mother and I certainly needed her after Mom passed and she was always there for me. Loved her, and always will, with all my heart.

  • Steven Forest says:

    Diane, you were always the caretaker for everyone. Taking Eileen on road trips to Monterey and Carmel. Every time I saw you, you would always stop what you were doing to give a big hug. I will miss the hugs.

  • Catherine (Kate) Yackshaw says:

    Dear Aunt Diane, when you allowed us to stay for 3 weeks during Summer of 1985, I grew to learn much about you, my wonderful cousins, and even my mom Lois. I marveled at you as a mom, an aunt, a neighbor, a fun & compassionate person. Thank you for your sparkly smiles, your grace, and your patience. Peace and Love from Kate Yackshaw, my husband Bill and our son Ramon

  • Martine Harmon says:

    Diane was a mentor to me, and a loving friend as well as a coworker for more than twenty years. She stayed on with our company past retirement age and we were so sad when she did finally retire. However we were also happy for her because she deserved to be able to relax and not stress over work. She meant the world to the Harmon Family. She was beloved by all who worked with her, she was a beautiful woman inside and out. Diane and I shared a special bond being our youngest sons were both gorgeous gingers. Both boys very good to their mothers, She was so proud of her children and spoke of them all the time. I am glad that she is not suffering and is out of pain, but we will all miss her. Diane felt like a part of my family and she saw my kids grow up and my grandkids, she was so loyal as a friedn and coworker. Diane did her job well and was respected by all those that she worked with. Her shoes were very hard to fill and she had a right to be proud of the work she accomplished at our company. She worked hard through many ups and downs of life, you could depend upon Diane, and that is saying a lot when it comes to business. After she retired she had a time to wait for her apartment she had planned on moving to, I tried to acknowledge her years of working for the family business and offered her a “in” for housing with a company I am associated with, she would not take even that from me! Diane never wanted a hand out, She always wanted to work for what she got and never ever took advantage of anyone. Her moral compass kept her from a pretty sweet apartment, but I love her all the more for it, and I respect her immensely. I wish that she did not have to leave us, but we mourn for ourselves as she is in a better place. I cannot say enough how much she meant to us, to me, my kids and family and the company where she held a most trusted position. I thank her children and her family, all those that took care of her in her later years. She deserved your care and concern and she would have done anything to help you. She told us many times about you kids and we knew you because of the depth of love that came from your mother.
    Diane raised you right! She will be missed.

  • Ann Lynch says:

    Aunt Diane was a sweet and kind person. We enjoyed playing Words With Friends together. It kept us connected. She was my dads (Carlos) baby sister. I miss you. 💕

  • collene burgess says:

    You are a shining star in the heaves. As a young child living next door to the Lynch family in Clinton IA , I will always remember as a young person, you had time, and cared for the Stouvenel family next door. You learned to be kind, caring and loving. This gift you learned from your mom, Agnes,(Inny), as we knew her. Inny was like mother to our mother. Truly a beautiful life long gift. Our families continue to be bonded together! I was reminded just recently that even our childhood homes are connected. With your smile you lite up a room. You will be missed by many. May your family always feel your love.

  • Caren Lollis says:

    I worked with Diane for around 15 years. She was a very wonderful friend and coworker. She always had a smile and sweet things to say. Always sharing tales of her cherished family and friends. I have missed her since she retired but was happy to share some good times with her during her retirement. This last year has been so hard, waiting and hoping to see her again. Love to her family.

  • Mary Finn says:

    I did not know Diane but I work with her son, Rick and if he is any indication of the kind of person (Mom, Sister, Aunt, Friend) she was, she did a fantastic job. He is one of the kindest people I know. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Rick.

  • Suzy Murdock says:

    Aunt Diane was my godmother. She was such a generous and loving lady. I was so looking forward to spending more time with her now that I’m retired. I wish she could have been with us longer. She helped tremendously through my grieving when Mom died. She will be missed by many.

  • Leslie Pollard Koch says:

    I remember Diane as a busy mom and later as one of the silver foxes. Her laugh was so genuine but always kind. It was fun being an honorary aunt to her children. We had some fun times. I will miss her.

  • Donald Trowbridge says:

    Diane and I worked together for many years at Western Care Construction. I actually bought a car from her for my daughter. She was a joy to work with and did her job extremely well. I also played tennis with her son Jason and I believe had a match against her former husband up at Lake of the Pines. My condolences go out to her family. She will be missed.

  • Marian Monto says:

    So sorry to hear of Diane’s death. Her sweet smile was ever present during the times we spent together, connected with the San Benancio schools, soccer, and of course tennis. She was a great mom and we attended lots of games and matches together, watching our sons. Her love of family was evident in all she did. My condolences to the family during this difficult time.

  • Agnes Yackshaw says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Aunt Diane (my mom is Lois) and my thoughts and prayers are with her children and grandchildren and all those who love and honor and cherish this wonderful woman, mother, aunt and friend. Most sincerely, Agnes Yackshaw

  • Karen Nickel says:

    Diane and I were friends from first grade. We walked to school together almost every day. I was in her wedding. She and her family visited us the first summer we moved from the Midwest to Maryland. We kept in touch through the years. We had a great trip together with a group of girls from Clinton. I visited her in California twice. I am filled with many great memories of her friendship. Most of them filled with laughter. I loved her laugh!
    My condolences to all of you. You are in my loving thoughts and prayers.

  • Lynn Hunter says:

    Diane was such a dear friend and I will miss her forever. We had so many good times over the years. Diane was spontaneous, full of fun and always up for an “outing”, a most beautiful person, inside and out. One of my fondest memories was our first road trip together back in 1998 when I discovered that “yes!” my car radio did have a sports station! Diane was a major sports fan and especially enjoyed watching the games with her family. Her biggest joy in life was her family. My heart goes out to all of them with my very deepest condolences. May your memories of happy times together help to bring you comfort during this sad time.

  • Carla Cantrell says:

    Diane was a wonderful friend who never failed to lift my spirits, in spite of her own health challenges. Her beautiful blue eyes always lit up when she was talking about her family and the various adventures they shared. She graced my life with her friendship and will be missed by all who knew her so very much. My heartfelt condolences to her family.

  • Mary Jo Talkington says:

    My sincere condolences to Diane’s entire family. She and I were very good friends at St. Mary’s High School in Clinton, IA. Diane set me up on a blind date with my husband in 1961 and we have been happily married all these years. She was my maid of honor in our wedding and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend. Diane was such a good person and mother. We had so much fun together over the years, she had the most wonderful smile. I remember meeting her family when Al and I visited her one time when she lived in Sacramento. She raised a beautiful family and I was so honored to meet some of you on that trip. She will be remembered fondly. You are all in my prayers and may Diane RIP.

  • Denny Forest says:

    Diane was one of the most important persons in my life and there’s just no way to put my feelings down in words. She provided so many memories, I’ll never stop thinking of her.
    How to sit down to play cards & not think of her,
    How to plan a gathering of family & not think of her,
    A trip to CA,
    Just about anything in my life, she impacted.
    And the family she raised. She was so proud of all of you.
    And her many, many friends. What a special person to be with, or even just talk with.
    Diane, I’m going to miss you,

  • Leslie Lynch Gintz and Rick Gintz says:

    I was so happy to be reaquainted in person with my beautiful Aunt Diane at a n overlapping visit to my sister Valerie’s house in 2018. She was beautiful, funny, with such an infectious laugh, in person. We loved getting to know each other, and she met my husband of 41 years then too.
    Thank heavens for Facebook to keep us in touch.
    She loved her family and shared childhood memories with us. My condolences to all her children and grandchildren. She is with us in spirit.

  • Jacky Jennings says:

    Growing up together in Iowa, attending St. Mary’s school, trips with friends to the East Coast, and a wonderful weekend in San Francisco attending the SF 49ers game….These are but a few of the times we shared and I will always remember. There is nothing like a friendship that lasts a lifetime and Diane was a Friend to so many people. My condolences to Diane’s family. I know that you each were Number One in her Heart.

  • Keith Yackshaw says:

    To Aunt Diane’s children and spouses, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, friends, any other loved ones, and of course her brother, David: We express our deepest condolences for the passing of Aunt Diane. Her passing makes us very sad. Please be assured that her love also touched us and we are very much the better for that. Although most of our lives witnessed us physically far away, whenever we visited her in California we were always greeted with the warmest of smiles, plenty of talk and laughter, and of course her love. We believe those of you who were able to see her frequently were so fortunate. We send all of you our best regards. Love,
    Keith & Marla Yackshaw

  • Martha Lois says:

    Aunt Diane may have been far away in CA, but I kept her in my thoughts and prayers over the years. I hope that she is happy in heavenly Oneness, reunited with my Mother Lois and her Mother Agnes and all her family and friends before her. Wonderful that she and Aunt Eileen had each other and their children in CA for so many years, bringing so many of my cousins together in Love and good times. I am glad that we got to touch base through Facebook sometimes. What a cheery smile!

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