Mayor William Harry Thorburn, 73, a longtime resident of Clarks Green, died Friday evening at Geisinger Community Medical Center where he was transported after being stricken ill at home earlier that evening. He was the husband of the former Maureen O’Neill. The couple was preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary April 20, 2018.
Born Jan. 23, 1945 in Scranton, he was the son of the late William and Catherine (Carrick) Thorburn.
He was a 1963 graduate of Scranton Technical High School. Following graduation, he served in the Army where he received honors in vocational electronics and radio repair. He retired from Verizon (formerly known as Bell Telephone) where he worked for over 35 years. After retirement, he worked several years for Frontier Communications until finally settling into “true retirement.”
Active in the community, he was a member of the Clarks Green Borough Council for numerous years before being elected mayor in 1998. Bill served as mayor for over 20 years where he spearheaded multiple community projects. He was vital in the planning of the Clarks Green Centennial Celebration, the installation of the new clocktower and memorial bricks, Tree City USA, the Pocket Library and the church bell that he took great pride in personally restoring, which now hangs proudly in front of the Borough building. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Clarks Summit and the Waverly Lodge No. 301, Free and Accepted Masons where he twice served as Worshipful Master.
A loving and devoted husband, he cherished the time he spent with Maureen. They enjoyed camping at state parks, nights out at the casino, playing pinochle with their card group, going on summer trips to Florida, or just simply enjoying each others company at home.
Bill was a caring and supportive father who taught his children the most important values in life. He was most proud of the families they created and his six grandchildren. Whether it was attending a grandson’s sporting event, taking his youngest grandson fishing, or playing “princess” with his granddaughter, Bill always had a smile on his face. He was the happiest spending time with his family.
He enjoyed his daily breakfasts at the Sunrise Café (Dawn’s) with his many friends. He cherished the times he took his grandchildren with him. He had a faithful group of friends that he walked with every morning that he loved dearly.
A craftsman by nature, Bill spent countless hours in his “workshop,” and you could always count on him to lend a helping hand. An avid reader, he was a self-taught musician of many instruments, a lover of banjos and bagpipes. You would never find Bill sitting idly by. He also enjoyed baking, especially during the holidays, when he would gift to his friends and family his “famous” Scottish shortbread.
Also surviving are a son, Brian and wife, Meghan, Phoenixville; two daughters, Stacey McHale and husband, Timothy, Scranton; Heather McCormick and husband, Sean, Clarks Summit; a sister, Catherine Phillips and husband, John, Rockaway, N.J.; six grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by an infant son, John; his sister, Mary Snyder; and his brother-in-law, Monsignor Kevin P. O’Neill.
The funeral will be Thursday with services at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church, 300 School Street, Clarks Summit, with services by the Rev. William G. Carter. Interment with full military honors, Fairview Memorial Park, Elmhurst Twp.
The family will receive relatives and friends Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursday morning 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Jennings-Calvey Funeral and Cremation Service Inc., 111 Colburn Ave., Clarks Summit. Masonic services will be Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. by the members of the Waverly Lodge, No 301 Free and Accepted Masons
In memory of Bill, a special intention will be established for the place he dearly loved, Clarks Green. Memorial contributions may be made to Clarks Green Borough, the Bill Thorburn Memorial Fund, 104 N. Abington Road, Clarks Green, PA 18411.