Courtesy of the Thornton Family

H.C. “Cal” Thornton, a longtime executive with United Press International and later the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, died Feb. 11 at a hospital in Fall River, Mass. He was 91.

The cause was coronary disease, said his son Peter Thornton.

Mr. Thornton began work as a reporter in the 1950s for the United Press wire service. He later moved to the business side of the industry as a sales executive for United Press International in Minneapolis when UP acquired International News Service in 1958.

He served as UPI’s regional manager in Boston and Chicago and in 1971 became vice president of sales.

Mr. Thornton joined the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service as sales director in 1977, and within 10 months was promoted to general manager. He eventually became president and editorial director of the news service, spreading its reach across Asia and Europe as well as in the United States.

He retired in 1988 and moved to Westport, Mass., where he worked part time in a bait and tackle shop.

Howard Calvin Thornton was born in Lynchburg, Va., on Aug. 11, 1925. He was studying philosophy at the University of Chicago when his father died. He left school to start working as a reporter.

His marriage to Audrey Laschansky ended in divorce. Survivors include his companion of 25 years, Sally Hand of Westport; five children from his marriage; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.