From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (African American Women Veterans in and from Kentucky)

Thorton, Ophelia Mae Ewings Speight Redmond

(born: February 24, 1924  -  died: June 9, 1992) 

Military Branch

Women's Army Corps

Active Duty Entered

August 4, 1943

Active Duty Exit

December 24, 1945

Awards & Decorations

Victory Medal, American Service Medal, WAAC Service Ribbon


Ophelia Mae Ewings was born in Blue Diamond, KY, the daughter of Mollie Knaff and Clarence Ewings. Her family was living in Franklin, PA when they were enumerated in the 1930 U.S. Census. Her father was a coal miner. Ophelia's mother had died when the family was enumerated in the 1940 U.S. Census.

On June 23, 1943, Ophelia married William Edward Speight in Harrisburg, PA. She also enlisted in the Army that year under the name Ophelia E. Redmond. During her military service she served as a nurse. After her military service, she was employed as a nurse at Cedars Hospital in New York. She was the wife of Norman J. Thornton. The couple lived in Detroit, MI, where her husband died in 1980. Ophelia left Detroit in 1982 and moved to Indiana, PA.

Ophelia Mae Ewings Speight Redmon Thornton died in Indiana, PA in 1992 and is buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Wyandotte, MI. 

Sources: U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index in Ancestry; Pennsylvania Marriages in Ancestry; "Obituaries: Clarence Ewings," Indiana Gazette, 3/27/2001, p. 19; "Marriage applications," The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA), 6/23/1943, p. 11; "Obituaries: Ophelia Ewings Thornton," Indiana Gazette, 6/10/1992, p. 16; and Ophelia Mae Ewings Thornton at Find A Grave.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Perry County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Blue Diamond, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: National Archives, Access to Archival Databases (online)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Source: Indiana gazette (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Evening news (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Thorton, Ophelia Mae Ewings Speight Redmond,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-15 15:43:36