James D. Thorne, Ph.D, 86, of Butler, Pennsylvania, passed away on November 6, 2018 at the Community Living Center at VA Butler Healthcare .
He was the son of George and Wilma Thorne. He was born on August 2, 1932 and raised in Meridian. He played in all the sports offered at the Meridian Athletic Club, learned to play tennis at an early age, and was an avid model plane enthusiast.
Upon graduation from Butler H.S., he joined the PA Air National Guard and at the start of the Korean War, joined the USAF. James served in Korea as a air traffic controller and returned to enroll in Slippery Rock College. He then met and married the love of his life, Doris Bodesheim.
He taught at Butler H.S. and then worked as an air traffic controller. He resigned from the FAA after his family survived the 1964 Alaska earthquake. Jim earned his Ph.D in Education from the University of Pittsburgh, later becoming a faculty member and administrator at Grove City College. In 1994 the Fellowship of Christian Educators at Grove City College established the Dr. James D. Thorne Education Award.
Jim and Doris enjoyed six years of retirement in Florida where he spent time fishing on the Gulf and playing tennis. They then returned to PA.
Always active in the church, Jim was a member of the Session that established Westminster Presbyterian Church in Butler.
He was instrumental in founding and directing the Fisherman Gospel Quartet affiliated with Butler’s First Methodist Church. After he and Doris moved to Concordia Retirement Community, he sang with the Concordia Chorale, directed the Troubadours, the Choraliers, and the Concordia Singers.
He will be fondly remembered as a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.
Dr. Thorne is survived by his wife Doris Bodesheim Thorne whom he married on March 24, 1956; one daughter Suann (Ray) Martell of Whidbey Island, WA; one son Dr. James Dana Thorne, Ph.D, Lt. Col, USAF (retired) (Mary) of Arlington, VA; grandchildren Jeanette (Justin) Lovern and Daniel Charles (Kelly) Martell and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Kendall Thorne.
Friends will be received at Thompson-Miller Funeral Home, Inc. 124 East North Street, Butler, PA 16001 on Sunday, November 11, 2018 from 12:00 (noon) to 2:00 pm .
A Funeral service will be held at Thompson-Miller Funeral Home, Inc., 124 East North Street, on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm with Rev. Jack Hartman, Director of Chaplain Services of Concordia Lutheran Ministries.
Private burial at St. John’s Reformed Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Dr. Thorne requested donations to the Dr. James D. Thorne Education Award, c/o Grove City College, 100 Campus Dr., Grove City, PA 16127.
Military Honors will be conducted at the funeral home by Officers and Members of the American Legion Post #117, Butler, American Legion Post #778, Lyndora, and VFW Post #249, Butler.
Online condolences can be given at www.thompson-miller.com.