Our Leadership Team
at Thornton Oaks
Don L. Kniseley
After a lengthy career in nonprofit management, I came to Thornton Oaks in 2012. It is both a great privilege and professionally rewarding to lead a superb leadership team here as we strive to meet the mission of creating a warm, congenial community environment that is socially and intellectually stimulating, and which offers the opportunity to pursue productive and satisfying lifestyles.
I am fortunate to not only work in Brunswick but to live in this delightful town as well. When not at Thornton Oaks, you will find me hiking on one of the countless trails in the community—including the beautiful trail that circumnavigates our campus—as well as playing tennis or attending some of the Bowdoin College events.
Director of Sales
As Director of Sales I have the pleasure of meeting future Thornton Oaks residents and telling them about our wonderful community. I’ve been with the Thornton Oaks since 2001. Prior to that, I worked as a Development Director for United Way. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine.
I also currently serve on the board of the Brunswick Downtown Association whose mission is to promote downtown Brunswick as a vibrant and attractive place to live, work, play and do business. The cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities in Brunswick are wonderful options for Thornton Oaks residents.
In my spare time I enjoy hiking and dining, especially in Brunswick and on the coast of Maine. I am also a new practitioner of Qigong, and return occasionally to my long-term model railroading hobby. I was thrilled when the Amtrak Downeaster train came to Brunswick, a few minutes from Thornton Oaks, because it offers direct access to southern Maine and North station in Boston.
My favorite inspirational quote is “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven.” by Johannes A. Gaertner, Professor, theologian and poet. I believe passionately that retirement years can be active, engaging, filled with many interests and new friendships.
Director of Dining Services
I am responsible for the creation of menus, dining-related ordering, hiring and scheduling staff, and facilitating the daily operations of the dining department. Prior to becoming the Director of Dining Services in early 2020, I was the head chef here at Thornton Oaks. I graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island in 2013 with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management. I joined the Thornton Oaks team the next year.
While working with the dining staff throughout the years, this quote from esteemed chef Anthony Bourdain has inspired my work at Thornton Oaks, “Without new ideas, success can become stale.” With my department staff, I strive to bring exceptional service of quality, creative food to Thornton Oaks residents.
In my free time, I enjoy going to Boston Red Sox games, attending church on Sundays, spending time with family and friends, attending concerts and participating in various outdoor activities.
Deb O’Neill, RN
Health and Wellness Coordinator
I provide assistance as well as community resources and programming/education to maximize function, quality of life, and health for the residents of Thornton Oaks. I have been a nurse for 43 years (I can’t believe it either!) and have worked at Thornton Oaks since 2017. My previous job was Hospice and Palliative care coordinator at the VA but I have worked the majority of my career in various roles within Mid Coast Health Services. I love being a nurse, being able to teach, to serve, to work hard, and, although I am pretty serious by nature, every once in a while, I will surprise you!
In my spare time, I love to share time with my family (husband, 3 children, and 6 grandchildren) in the great outdoors and I especially love to travel.
My favorite inspirational quote: “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw
Resident Services and Transition Coordinator
Since 2006 I have been responsible for planning and scheduling activities at Thornton Oaks. I work closely with other departments to provide a rich and satisfying lifestyle for residents. I also enjoy meeting new residents and their families and working with them to help make their moves to Thornton Oaks smooth and seamless.
In my spare time, I enjoy quilting, snowshoeing, reading and spending time with my family.
My name is Tim May, I am the Facilities Manager at Thornton Oaks, which includes the Housekeeping department. As facilities manager I am responsible for the buildings and grounds here at Thornton Oaks. After four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, I worked at Bath Iron Works for 25 years, 6 years in Public housing, and have worked at Thornton Oaks since 2013.
I was born and brought up right here in Brunswick Maine, I have two grown Sons and three grandchildren. In my spare time you can find me on the ocean with my soon to be wife Patti and dog Cutter. Working at Thornton Oaks is very rewarding! Providing the residents with a safe, clean enjoyable place to live is the best part of working here.
Business Office Manager
I have been the business office manager since 2001. I oversee the business operations of the company and assist all other departments with the daily running of Thornton Oaks.
I feel that my job offers me the opportunity, daily, to make life the best I can for the residents, especially as they grow older. I believe that we make a positive difference every day, and that working as a team is what makes Thornton Oaks the success it is today.
When not spending my days at work, I am busy snowmobiling in the winter, golfing in the summer and enjoying the outdoors.