Winifred McNamara Thornton Gates, 98, passed peacefully from this life to the next in the early morning hours Saturday, April 7, 2018 with her loving daughter, Anne, by her side caringly tending to her every need. Win’s incredible journey started on December 23, 1919 as the first daughter of James and Anna Slattery McNamara. Born and raised in Syracuse, Win graduated from St. John the Baptist High School and attended Syracuse University and the Powelson Business Institute. During World War II, she worked as a secretary for the Army Corps of Engineers in Syracuse and the Army Air Corps in Sacramento, CA.
In 1944, she married Dan Thornton and became a stay-at-home wife and mother to their six children. She loved spending time with her family. She also pursued her interests in watercolor painting, singing, sewing, floral arranging, bridge, fishing and golf. An avid golfer and former member of Bellevue Country Club, Win was a long time member of the Syracuse Woman’s District Golf Association. After Dan’s death in 1970, she returned to work as an executive secretary at Monroe Tree Co. and TV Guilfoil & Assoc. in Syracuse.
In 1975, Win married Jack Gates, and in 1986 they retired to Santee, SC., where they lived for 22 years. In South Carolina, she was a member of the Santee Cooper Resort Country Club, the Santee Cooper Ladies Golf Association and the Orangeburg League of the Arts. Many happy times were spent at their summer home with family and friends on Hill Island at the St. Lawrence River. After Jack’s death in 2007, she returned to Syracuse and lived at The Nottingham until her death. There she made countless friends with both fellow residents and staff and she continued her passion for music as a valued member of the Nottingale Chorus.
She was predeceased by her parents, her first husband, Dan Thornton, her second husband, Jack Gates, and her youngest son, Michael Thornton. She is survived by a daughter, Anne Streno (Bob) of Denver, Colorado, four sons- Greg Thornton (Ellen) and Barry Thornton (Carole) both of Syracuse, Dave Thornton (Jill) and Don Thornton (Carol) both of California; 15 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, her sister Claire Hayden of Syracuse, 3 stepchildren-Catherine Gates-Yorra, Patricia Patrick, and John Odell Gates and their families, several nieces, nephews, cousins and many loving friends.
There will be no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 259 East Onondaga Street, Syracuse, New York.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Win’s memory to Hospice of Central New York, 990 7th N St, Liverpool, NY 13088.