Siblings William and Mary Thorpe were born in Herkimer and grew up on their family farm on a hill just west of the Village of Camillus. After graduating from Camillus High School, William went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon his return to the Syracuse area, he became a well-known sports broadcaster for WFBL radio and rubbed elbows with many of the sports celebrities of the time. William died of cancer in 1969.
Soon after graduating from Camillus High School, Mary began a career that spanned nearly 50 years at Bristol Laboratories in Syracuse. The industry was dominated by men at the time, but Mary’s strong independence and drive established her as a key purchasing agent for many decades. Mary passed away in 2010, leaving a legacy for charitable purposes.
Her estate was used to create a fund designed to improve the quality of life in Onondaga County. The fund’s co-advisors opted to house it as a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation rather than as a private foundation. In keeping with Mary’s desire to support the community, the advisors allocate grants to a variety of organizations each year, helping to carry out the Thorpe family legacy. The fund is used to support programs that address education, health and medicine, social welfare, arts and music, historical preservation and more.
Although William and Mary are not here to see the difference their contribution is making, the fund will honor their dedication to the community for years to come and touch more lives than perhaps even they could have imagined.