Allen R. Thorpe passed away peacefully May 25, 2010 at Queen of the Valley Medical Center with his beloved wife, the former Wilma L. Mariska, at his side holding his hand.

Allen was born at home on 19th Street in San Francisco to James Hall and Caroline Priscilla (Doyle) Thorpe on Jan. 4, 1916. 

Allen attended Washington Primary School on Polk Street, Napa, the Lincoln School in the old, original two-story-wooden building. He attended intermediate school at Jefferson Street in Napa. He then went on to Napa Union High School. He graduated in June, 1934. Mr. Thorpe attended Lucy’s Secretarial School at Seminary Street, completing courses in typing, bookkeeping and shorthand. He held a part-time job as a secretary with Darrel L. Beard, attorney at law. Next employment was with Noyes Lumber Company in 1936 to 1941, at which time he was inducted into the U.S. Army in Sacramento. He was honorably discharged on Dec. 23, 1945, from the 83rd Battalion Regiment Company D as sergeant major with the rank of staff sergeant and decorated with four medals.

Allen returned to Noyes Lumber Co. until Aug. 15, 1948, at which time he was appointed city clerk, treasurer and collector by the Napa City Council. In January 1949 Allen assumed full duties as city clerk. Allen attended continuing education for public officials at U.C. Santa Cruz over a period of three years, attaining the designation of certified training facilitator. He worked with four city managers; Martin, Laughridge, Roberts and Bopf. Allen retired Dec. 31, 1982, after 34 years.

Allen met Wilma L. Mariska, who became the love of his life, while in the Army at Camp Roberts. They were married May 10, 1944, and raised two daughters: Jan Maris (Thorpe) Boatright born Oct. 1, 1950, and Patricia Lee (Thorpe) Franceschi, born Oct. 8, 1953.

Mr. Thorpe took classical piano lessons from age seven though 14. In 1935 Allen started playing in dance bands. He took over leadership of a ten-piece band from 1932 until 1938. In January 1946 he played as sideman with local bands and at one time the band became the house band for Silverado Country Club. He later played in trios and quartets. 

Allen began playing tennis at age 14 at Napa Union High School and won a “Winged N” in interclass tennis as a senior. He played until 1946. After retiring he took up golf. In leisure time he enjoyed growing vegetables in the backyard (The West Forty) and took many trips up the California coast to Anchor Bay with his wife and family.

Allen was a member of Sons In Retirement (S.I.R.S.), attended the old guard of Napa Monthly Luncheons and was a Mason for 71 years. He had a great repertoire of jokes and will always be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor and his joy for life.

He is survived by his wife, Wilma Thorpe, of Napa; daughters, Jan Maris Boatright, of Sonoma, and Patricia Franceschi, of Sandy, Utah.

A memorial service will be held at Claffey & Rota Funeral Home on Thursday, June 3, 2010, at 2 p.m. Donations can be made to Salvation Army. Condolences can be sent at

(2) comments


How wonderful that Mr. Thorpe lived a long and full life. I will never forget him, as a young lady starting out my business career. I took my first full-time position at City Hall and he was my boss. He had a great sense of humor and was a wonderful inspiration. He was always joking - so one day he brought in some lemons from his lemon tree and the next day he had a lemon-meringue pie sitting on his desk (home-made from my kitchen)!

A wonderful man that I will always remember with great respect and how he showed the younger generation to live (with humor and grace)!
May you RIP!


My familys thoughts and prayers are with you. Al and my dad played in the same band when I was a youngster..still have memories of tagging along to watch them perform. We will miss this man who had a unique sense of humor...

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