Cover photo for Heidi  Bowden Thornton's Obituary
1965 Heidi 2020

Heidi Bowden Thornton

May 7, 1965 — November 4, 2020

Heidi Bowden Thornton, age 55, passed away on Nov 4, 2020 after a 12-year battle with brain cancer. She was born on May 7, 1965 in Nassawadox, VA to Carolyn and Kirby Bowden.

Heidi exhibited a true joy for life, and loved to celebrate with people, rejoicing in special days and accomplishments with her family and friends. She lifted everyone with her positivity. She jumped at any chance to plan a fun itinerary, travel to Disney, join a flash mob or learn something new. She maintained her good humor and kind heart throughout the course of her illness, making jokes about her challenges, citing her favorite quote (“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward” ~ Kay Yow), and naming the tumor ‘Ethel’. She was grateful to the healthcare team who cared for her, especially Dr. Fran Collichio.

Heidi’s family lived in multiple ports before settling in Elizabeth City. She grew up with a love for ballet and achieved a goal of becoming a cheerleader at Northeastern High School. She loved crafting and scrapbooking.

Heidi graduated with a bachelor of science in pharmacy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served a Resident’s Assistant in the dormitory and was a beloved member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She subsequently practiced as a retail pharmacist in Virginia Beach and Chapel Hill, where her approachability, knowledge and friendliness were valued by the patients she served and by her co-workers. Heidi was a member of University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, NC, and a former member of Blackwell Memorial Baptist Church in Elizabeth City.

She was the loving daughter to her parents, the dear sister of Jill Bowden Koch and brother-in-law Richard Koch, devoted mother to her children Michael, Wyatt and Kirby Thornton and doting caretaker of their dogs Maggie and Blue.

Above all else, Heidi was a dedicated mother who treasured her children and every moment with them. She loved each one dearly and instilled in them strong values that have served them well. Her children are grateful for her attentiveness and pride; she reveled in their sports and activities, going to great lengths to make every birthday and graduation special.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 2:00 PM at Belle Haven Cemetery with Sandra Walters officiating.

Flowers will be accepted or charitable donations in Heidi’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society 8300 Health Park, Suite 10, Raleigh, NC 27615.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements were made by Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore, Virginia.

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Graveside Service

Belle Haven Cemetery
  • Email Details
  • Lee Street
    Belle Haven, Virginia 23306
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