For over 29 years, William “Willie” Thornton has strolled the halls of Jeff High, cleaning up messes along the way. However despite being at JHS for nearly three decades, Thornton hasn’t been seen in months.
Willie is battling health issues, which have kept him from coming in to do the job he loves.
“I like my job and I like the people I work with,” Thornton said. “It’s up to the doctors on if I can return or not. I really want to come back.”
The impact of his absence can be noticed around the janitorial staff, as every one of them who has worked with Thornton mentioned his dedication to the school.
“We miss Willie’s leadership,” said Michelle Grut, a day janitor at JHS. “He has put lots of years into this school, and we truly, truly miss him.”
As for a possible return to work, Thornton (and his doctors) have until March to decide on whether he will be able to return to the janitorial staff.
“He’s been an anchor for our custodial staff for years. He’s a tremendous worker,” said assistant principal Timothy LaGrange. “He’s had some health issues, so losing him was a big blow to us during the day. I personally miss him alot, he had a great sense of humor and I just enjoyed being around him. In his situation if he came back, we want what’s best for Willie.”
On July 31, former JHS employee Michael Ehringer passed away. He was 69 years old.
Ehringer was known for being an assistant principal, boys track coach, boys cross country coach, math teacher and athletic director at Jeff High. He was also the principal of Parkview Middle School at one time, too.
“In the words of Mick Hennegan, former JHS principal, ‘Mike taught not only the material, but more importantly, he taught the student.’ When he retired, he planned on fishing every day. But in reality, he rarely had time to fish. His days seemed to always be filled helping other people,” said former JHS assistant principal and athletic director Ralph Scales.
Ehringer would always have the crowd puzzled as he announced track trivia during track meets after his years of coaching the team. Many people that knew him would say he always knew how to make someone smile: from his trivia, to his singing in the Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus.
“He was a true Renaissance man in that he loved athletics, academics, and the arts,” said former JHS teacher Mark Lambertus. “He will be missed mightily by his friends and family and friends from Greater Clark Schools,”