CLARKS GREEN — Mayor William “Bill” Thorburn served as mayor of Clarks Green for 20 years and was on the borough council before that. Everyone knew him as “Mayor Bill.”
Family members, Clarks Green Mayor Patty Lawler, Clarks Green council members, elected officials, Masons and others came to remember the late Clarks Green mayor on Jan. 26 on the first anniversary of his death.
Memorial donations made to the Mayor Thorburn Memorial Fund were given to the student aid committee at Abington Heights to create a scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to an Abington Heights student who has an interest in the industrial arts and will be given to the student during the school’s Reflections program. The check was presented to Abington Heights at the first anniversary event.
“We are thrilled to know that the funds collected in his memory will benefit future graduates of Abingdon Heights,” said Stacy McHale, daughter of Mayor Thorburn. “We find it fitting to see those funds go to a student who is choosing to further their education in the trades, skills, industrial arts or technology fields. Who knows – he or she might even become a great mayor.”
The remaining funds were used to purchase a bench for the pocket park across from the Clarks Green borough building with Mayor Thorburn’s name on it.
Rev. John Lapera of the Church of Saint Gregory offered prayers at the event.
“Bill and I grew up about a block apart from each other in Scranton,” said Clarks Green Council member Alan Hughes. “We did things most kids did like play games, go to each other’s houses and have meals together. When my wife and I moved back to the area from Rochester, New York we bought a house a few blocks from the Thorburns. Bill and I were working together in Clarks Green Council. He was a dear friend of mine.”
Thorburn was instrumental in several community projects including the planning of Clarks Green’s centennial celebration, the installation of the clock tower and pocket library, and the church bell obtained from Masonic Lodge, formerly a Baptist Church. He restored the bell which now hangs in front of the Clarks Green Brough building.
“Mayor Thorburn was a jack of all trades,” said Clarks Green Mayor Patty Lawler. “He was a woodworker and he could fix anything. He could take an engine apart and then put it back together. He maintained the Clarks Green borough trucks. Mayor Thorburn was a good friend of mine. His spirit is still with us.”
“He was a really nice guy,” said Joe Barrasse, Clarks Green council president. “He did great things for the community. The little things he did for Clarks Green he did over and over. So many things that he did we treasure.”
“Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community of Clarks Green,” said McHale. “Over the last year, countless people have shared their memories with us about my dad. We cherish these stories and the great memories we have.
“Collectively, all of these stories and memories are about a man who lived life with his heart and with his hands. He was a woodworker, a carpenter, an electrician, a builder, a mechanic, an artist, an architect, a seamstress, a metal worker, a computer technician, a musician, a cook, a baker, a designer and a mayor. My dad was someone who enjoyed the process of learning and creating and loved working with his hands.”