NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Vernon Lee Thunem, a resident of New Canaan for more than 53 years, died Tuesday, April 19 after a brief illness. He was 90.
Born in New York City Jan. 2, 1926, he was the son of the late Louis and Victoria Thunem. An only child, he attended The Hunter College Model School and Stuyvesant High School. He played the violin and was a Boy Scout at the West Side YMCA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Columbia University and a master’s degree from New York University. He married Libby Pickles on June 5, 1954, and they settled in New Canaan and at St. Mark’s Church. He enjoyed a 36-year career in the human resources field, most of that with Caltex and then Texaco, before retiring in 1987.
As a specialist in expatriate benefits administration, he traveled to Beirut, Istanbul, Indonesia, Bahrain, Brussels, Dhahran and Saudi Arabia. He served as a volunteer with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC, was a member of the Seventh Regiment in New York and served in the U.S. Army during WWII.
For 53 years, he was a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan, and served in various positions. His most notable role in the community was as the founding Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 70 at St. Mark’s Church.
He is survived by his three sons, Carl (Debbie) of Flower Mound, Texas, Eric (Cynnie) of New Canaan, and Mark (Lauren) of Huntington, Connecticut; four grandchildren, Matthew (Meghan) and Megan of Flower Mound, Texas, and Edward “Ned” and Peter of New Canaan; and one great grandchild, Lincoln, of Flower Mound, Texas.
He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth “Libby” Thunem, in 2008.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 29 at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, with a reception to follow in Morrill Hall.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to either BSA Troop 70 c/o St. Mark’s Church or to St. Mark’s Church.