Just four days after celebrating his 85th birthday, Frank Thorne died in his home overlooking the second green of Fallbrook Golf Club on August 12, 2014. Sue, his bride of 53 years, was at his side. The Thornes had built this little “casa” exactly 25 years ago as the perfect place to retire and continue their love of outdoor adventure, travel, and sports.
Francis Harry Marples Thorne (Fran to his English friends) was born in Skegness, Lincolnshire, on August 8, 1929. He had a younger sister, Beryl, who also lives in Fallbrook. Mutual friends introduced him to Susan Fitch in 1957 when he needed a partner for a tennis tournament in the original Boston, just 20 miles distant.
Fran had just returned from a two-year (mis)adventure in Australia and was rich enough to have a car for team transport! On that day, a lifelong match was made! The Thornes were married in Skegness in 1961, then moved to London where he was working as an electrical engineer.
In 1963, they emigrated to sunny California, sponsored by sister Beryl. Frank began a new career in the emerging computer world, first as a programmer for City National Bank, then with Ralston Purina, Northrop, and finally TRW where he spent 17 years as a senior analyst/manager in Redondo Beach. Sue enjoyed an equally rewarding career as employee publications manager for Computer Sciences Corporation. In 1985, with no family responsibilities, they agreed to swap LA city life for small-town living.
Membership in the Fallbrook Tennis Club and the Fallbrook Land Conservancy added many new friends to the Thornes’ circle. Frank helped the FLC set up it earliest computer system and was a member of the Save Our Forest street-cleanup and tree-planting teams.
He also played golf with the Fallbrook Seniors for many years. What finally slowed him down was the Australian “mis-adventure” of his youth; there he had worked as an electrician in the notorious asbestos mine of Wittenoom Gorge in the outback of
Western Australia. He, like thousands of other emigrants, had been infected by the deadly dust. But he was a non-smoker and lucky enough to survive 60 years before its deadly effects took hold. Fallbrook Hospice and Affordable Home Care provided wonderful support for his last few homebound months.
Donations in Frank Thorne’s name may be made to Save Our Forest or Fallbrook Hospice.