Catherine Holman Thornton, DMD, “Cat” to many who knew her, left her earthly home and entered eternal life on December 31, 2020. Her love of life is carried on by her husband, Kirk, family, and innumerable friends from every walk of life. Catherine had a heart of gold, a smile that lit up any room, and a gift for making others instantly love her and want to spend time in her light.
Catherine was born March 8, 1993 at Robins AFB, Georgia, and grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi with her loving family. Very early in life, she had a keen interest in dentistry and began her lifetime goal of becoming an orthodontist. She attended Tupelo High School and always excelled both academically and athletically. She was a Tupelo Rotary Scholar, ACT Scholar and was selected into the Tupelo Hall of Fame. She was also a three-time 5A All-State cross-country runner and was an integral member of the 2006 Nike Team Nationals team from Tupelo that placed 20th in the nation. She was also a member of Tupelo’s show choir “Wave Connection” where she spent most of her free time doing what she loved most: singing and dancing.
She went to the University of Mississippi in 2011 on academic scholarships and joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She became very involved in leadership positions in her sorority, student government and many other extracurricular activities. She was elected an ASB Campus Senator, ASB Elections Commissioner and ASB Chief of Staff for the Vice President. Catherine was a true “beauty and brains” placing top ten in Ole Miss’s Parade of Beauties and being honored as both University Homecoming Senior Maid and Campus Favorite. Her beauty was so much more than her physical appearance. Her heart’s inner beauty extended to every person she met. She was “there for you” in every sense of the phrase and made every friend feel like her closest, most valued companion no matter how long she had known them. Catherine was an angel on earth to anyone who knew her, and it was simply impossible not to have fun in her presence. If you couldn’t find her in the Grove or cheering the Ole Miss Rebels to victory, you could find her socializing with numerous friends. It was at one of these social gatherings that she met the love of her life, Kirk Thornton. Their love, first beginning as a close friendship, blossomed through many semesters of class together as they were both studying Art at Ole Miss. She graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Art in 2015.
She was accepted into dental school at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry in Jackson and began her studies in August of 2016. Over the four years of dental school, she served her class as Vice President, Student Alumni Representative for the Office of Alumni Affairs and was a Political Action Committee Student Representative. Between countless nights of studying, she also found time to plan her most beautiful wedding. Kirk and Catherine were married in the presence of God and many special friends and family on May 18th, 2019 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Oxford. They lived happily in Jackson with their two cats, Ava and Steel, and were members of St. Richard Catholic Church. She graduated in May of 2020 with a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and was accepted into the graduate orthodontic residency at St. Louis University. They moved to St. Louis in the summer, and she had just completed her first semester of her 30 month residency right before Christmas. Catherine’s final years of hard work were spent pursuing her dream of joining and expanding her dad, Kevin’s, orthodontic practice in Tupelo, and she had deep hopes of beginning a family with Kirk.
Though Catherine’s life was much shorter than any could have imagined, those who knew and loved Cat were blessed to learn valuable life lessons from her on how to live joyfully. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken” (her favorite quote by Oscar Wilde). Delight in the little things. Order dessert. Cats are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. Dance when music plays. Work hard, but always balance the work with fun. Call (or facetime) with your friends and family as often as you can. Always wear lipstick. Don’t forget to floss!
Catherine had a gift for spreading happiness to all around her, from her closest friends to restaurant waiters and grocery store clerks. When reading this, you may recall your own memories with Catherine, and those memories certainly must include her bright blue eyes, contagious laugh and beautiful smile.
Catherine’s spirit lives on through her loving husband, Kirk Thornton of Madison, MS; her parents, Kevin and Emily Holman of Tupelo, MS; her siblings, Max Holman (Kori) of Memphis, TN, Rachael Holman of Nashville, TN, and Lee Holman of Jackson, MS; her grandfather Frank Lee of Jacksonville, FL; her “adopted” brother, Daniel Filippo Ferreira of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws who will miss her more than words can describe.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Bernie and Ann Holman of Jackson, MS, and Ann Lee of Jacksonville, FL; and her “adopted” sister, Raquel Muñoz Gutierrez of Madrid, Spain.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Richard Catholic Church on Monday, January 4th at 11:00 am. Visitation will be at the Church from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. All are welcome to attend the visitation, but we ask that the funeral Mass be reserved for close friends and family due to COVID-19 restrictions. A live-stream of the service will be available online for all who cannot attend. An additional memorial service in Tupelo, MS will be held at a later date. Online remembrances and condolences can be shared on her Tribute Wall at Breeland Funeral Home’s website.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the sole philanthropy of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, and Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic, a pro-life clinic and education center in Tupelo, MS.
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