Marietta Natives Give Gift of Change

Posted 2016-12-02 by MCF

Jean and Glen “Pete” Thorne of Marietta passed away in early 2015. When they died, they made sure something bigger would live on by leaving a substantial gift to help improve Marietta. This is their legacy. 

Jean & Pete Thorne called Marietta home their whole lives. Jean worked at BF Goodrich for many years and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. Pete served in the U.S. Navy during WWII as a highly trained submariner on the USS Gato from 1943-1945. He worked in the ladies department at Sniffen’s in downtown Marietta and then 3C trucking. They were both very active in the community, but enjoyed their privacy. 

Marietta charmed the Thornes. They were endlessly impressed by the people that populate this quaint city and how deeply residents care for their community. They loved the downtown area and the simple pleasure gained from greeting business owners who both knew you and earnestly cared about your needs. They also loved the town’s history and promising future. 

They had the kind of relationship most only hope to find; they adored each other. Better yet, the skills, talents and interests of one seemed a perfect complement to the other. Pete was a gifted carver and Jean an accomplished painter. Their primitive Santa carvings and walking sticks were crafted with vivid detail. The hard wood was chiseled with care by Pete and softened with each stroke of Jean’s brush. Presentation was everything to them both. Though rather structured in appearance and manner, Jean had an artist’s heart and loved things that were open and free. 

While living, the hanging flower baskets downtown were the only detail of Marietta they hoped to change. Jean’s artistic eye longed for a visual display more befitting such a beautiful area. Jean recognized the uplifting effect gardens have when balanced with florals and greens that blend varied tones and textures. They also recognized this revitalization was not financially possible without help. That is their legacy: affecting real change to improve something they believed in. 

Most people give money in a structured way. When the Thornes donated, however, they put their full faith in the Foundation. The Thornes were traditionalists, but they were also forward thinking. When it came time to make an impact they chose to give to something open and let that gift be free to make the most difference. 

“The Thornes trusted us with this gift,” said Heather Allender, president and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “It’s important that we learn about our donors’ interests and create a project in their honor that represents who they were.”

Through collaboration between the Marietta Community Foundation,

Marietta Main Street and Marietta in Bloom, the revitalization of the downtown flower baskets is underway. The beautification of historic Marietta is something the Thornes believed in, and still believe in through their gift. Presentation was everything and the Thornes knew that with a little help Marietta could be more. The Thornes’ legacy is extensive and does not end with the beautification of Marietta. It will go further to support our community by addressing the area’s most pressing needs.