Erin Marie Thornton, 40, passed away unexpectedly from medical complications on November 14, 2023.
Erin was born on September 16th, 1983 to Jerilyn and Steve Shodahl, joining her sister, Emily. She grew up in North Branch, Minnesota attending North Branch High School and was active in volleyball, basketball, track & field, and was chosen as homecoming queen by her senior class of 2002. She enjoyed hunting and fishing with her dad, cuddles and shopping with her mom, and Christmas cookie baking and laughter with her sister Emily. She adored her grandmother and nephew Callan. She loved being with family and would often pull up a chair and spend hours with them laughing and being together.
Erin found her calling in Social Work at Therapeutic Services Agency, Inc. (TSA) in Pine City, as a Youth Care Worker. In 2015, she earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Metro State University and continued as a Mental Health Practitioner, and Case Manager at TSA. During her 15 years in Social Work, Erin channeled her loving nature impacting many individuals by helping them recognize the best in themselves and providing hope. She was exceptionally talented and her fun, warmth, humor, laughter, genuine presence and caring ways enriched the lives of colleagues and kids fortunate to know Erin. All those who worked with Erin thought her a terrific teammate and comrade, devoted, determined, energetic and professional. After enjoying a short period at home with her daughter, in 2021 Erin made a change in career direction, taking a role as an Administrative Coordinator for Investments at Fiduciary Counselling Inc. (FCI). Bringing her unique experience and perspective Erin made contributions quickly, becoming an essential part of the Investments team and the entire office.
Erin was as beautiful inside as out and her personality was magnetic, bringing smiles and laughter to everyone she met. She enjoyed whomever she was with: family, friends, her dogs, and even random people she interacted with. She loved to be busy and enjoyed road trips, travel, the outdoors, good food, plays, ball games, and bargain hunting; shenanigans were Erin’s desire and delight. As long as Erin was with family and friends, she was having fun with a big smile, twinkle in her eyes, and generous laughter. Erin would often give others special nicknames and earned one herself as “Crazy Erin,” given to her from the kids in her extended family because of the silly times they had when with her. Unique situations always seemed to find Erin, usually they were comical, and when she shared them, you realized this is only something that would happen to her. To know Erin was to love Erin, and be loved by Erin.
Erin became perfectly matched when she met Jonathan Thornton in the fall of 2017. It was easy to see how genuine their love was for one another. Jonathan and Erin were married on October 4th, 2019 at the St. Paul Saints stadium where they frequently attended baseball games together. Erin and “JT” as she lovingly referred to Jonathan enjoyed going to Farmer’s Markets, camping, daytime drives, dinners out, documentaries, and dog parks. They happily enjoyed city living in downtown St. Paul until purchasing a home in Mounds View, where they brought home their beloved daughter Penelope Jae (Penny). Erin was a natural mom, nurturing, child centered, generous in spirit and heart, and grateful to partner in parenting with her husband. She and Jonathan kept up an always on-the-go schedule, always coming up with adventures to do with Penny. An annual highlight for the three of them was their extended family trips to Hawaii with the Thorntons. Wanting another child to love and thinking Penny would enjoy a sibling, Erin was excited to be pregnant and give birth to her son, William Aaron.
Erin will be eternally loved and deeply missed by her cherished husband Jonathan, their children Penny and William, her parents Jerilyn and Steve Shodahl, grandmother Jeanette Kurtz, sister Emily (Mike) Walter, mother-in-law Serene Thornton, brothers-in-law William (Heather) Thornton and Christopher (Lea) Thornton, nephew Callan Walter, niece and nephew Ellie and Henry Thornton. She is loved and remembered by her many aunts, uncles, cousins, and countless friends and colleagues. Erin will be greeted with love by those who passed before her: grandfather Howard Kurtz, grandfather Russell Shodahl, grandmother Mary Ellen Shodahl, uncle Vern Heilmer, aunt Julie Perrault, and father-in-law Arnold Thornton. Erin’s authentic generosity for others will continue in this world through the gift of organ donation to others in need. Erin was a gift to this world and her lasting legacy will be the depth of her loving spirit and vibrancy in living.
All are welcome to celebrate her life from 4-7pm Friday, December 1 at Bradshaw, 4600 Greenhaven Drive, White Bear. Memorials preferred.