Theron W. Conrad, 98, of Fairmount Avenue, Sunbury, passed away Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Nottingham Village. Theron will join his wife of 64 years, Jane Conrad, who died five years ago.
Theron lived a long, active life on his own terms. He was an excellent father, grandfather and great-grandfather, loved the outdoors — especially trapping and trout fishing — and bought and sold countless cars and pickups during his lifetime.
He was born in Sunbury on Sept. 23, 1923, to Theron D. and Mabel Conrad. Theron W. was a 1941 graduate of Sunbury High School, who enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 when he had just started attending Susquehanna University. World War II was on, and Theron headed straight into it.
Theron flew on B-17 bombers with the 351st Bomb Group for 27 missions over Nazi positions in the European Theater, serving as a bombardier, radar operator, spot jammer and gunner. His plane and crew were shot down one time, and had an emergency landing — no landing gear, one engine still running — on a grass air strip in Belgium, a few miles behind the Allied line. His planes were hit by German flak guns on two other occasions, but returned safely to base in England.
By the time of his honorable discharge in 1945, he had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, won three battle stars and three oak clusters from what we now refer to as the U.S. Air Force.
Upon return to Sunbury, he resumed his education at Susquehanna, while working part-time for his father, a well-known stock broker and investment counselor. Theron W. graduated from Susquehanna in 1949 with a degree in Business Administration.
In the 1950s, Theron and his brother, James H., who predeceased him, turned their hobby of loving automobiles into a used car dealership in Sunbury. Theron went on to become a Special Agent for Prudential Insurance, a position he held for many years. He also was a substitute teacher at the Shikellamy, Midd-West, Warrior Run and other schools. Theron worked as an aide at the former Torrance State Hospital at Blairsville, Pa. for eight years until his retirement in 1985.
Backing up a bit, on Oct. 25, 1952, he married Jane Oberdorf, who also graduated from Sunbury High School. They often recounted the story about how they met. Jane worked at the local Chevrolet dealership and one day, when Theron bought a 1947 Chevy convertible, he asked her to go for a ride. Jane did, and the car dealer later joked that Theron got a great package deal. Which, he did.
Like many of his era, Theron was active in Sunbury civic circles. He was a life member of Tall Cedars of Lebanon, in which he was a past “Grand Tall Cedar;” Masonic Lodge No. 22 in Sunbury; the local American Legion and VFW posts; East End Hose Co.; Sons of the American Revolution. He was a proud member of the Pennsylvania Trappers Association and National Rifle Association.
Theron found his passion outdoors. He was a skilled trapper who was commonly seen driving his red Dodge Ram or International Scout through the farmland around Sunbury. He caught hundreds of red and gray fox, mink, raccoons and thousands of muskrats over the years. His Fairmount Avenue basement in late winter looked like a fur auction, before he took his pelts — to an actual fur auction. Theron enjoyed trout fishing, primarily at White Deer. He was a member of the Fern Spring camp there for years.
Theron and Jane raised three children at their Fairmount Avenue home. All three survive, Joann Weres, of Pottsville, Eric Conrad, of Winthrop, Maine, and, Ellen Mull, of the Mile Hill area of Sunbury. Also surviving are their spouses, Michael Weres, Barbara Walsh and John Mull. In addition, Theron is survived by his granddaughter, Elizabeth (Weres) Popovic, her husband, Steven, and their two children, of Mount Lebanon; grandson, Kurt Weres of Tallahassee, Fla.; granddaughters, Emma Walsh Conrad of Denver, and Nora Walsh Conrad of Maine; granddaughter, Lauren Mull, her partner, Garrett Wonsik, and their two children of Sunbury; and grandson, Tyler Mull, also of Sunbury. Also, a brother, Barry, of McEwensville.
Theron was predeceased by his brother, James H.; and sister, Patricia (Hoover) Phifer.
Friends and family may visit from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Zweier Funeral Home, 157 Chestnut St., Sunbury, where the funeral service will follow at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Richard Fangmann officiating.
Interment will follow in Pomfret Manor Cemetery.
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