Peter Lewis Thornburgh

August 10, 2022


Peter Lewis Thornburgh, 62, died peacefully of natural causes in his West Deer Township home on Wednesday August 10, 2022. Peter's life was centered on perseverance, love of family, and his faith in God. Born in Pittsburgh on February 28, 1960, Peter at age four months was severely brain-injured in an automobile accident and in his ensuing years he worked to overcome major intellectual disabilities. Peter was supported in this journey by his family and other significant caregivers, including the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh – where in 2010 the Peter Thornburgh Patient Care Suite was dedicated in his name.

From his earliest years, Peter exceeded all expectations as he worked to achieve independence. He attended school and learned to read and write, swim, ride a bicycle, and travel on public buses. These accomplishments were accompanied by a remarkable spirit of optimism, hard work and a keen sense of humor. In his adult years, Peter moved to semi-independent living homes where he continued his progress and contributed to his communities. In Harrisburg, Peter was a long-time volunteer at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and for years he collected soda can tabs to give to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Hershey and Pittsburgh. A man of deep faith, Peter regularly attended church services where he was embraced by welcoming congregations.

Peter was preceded in death by his father, former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and his first mother, Virginia Hooton Thornburgh. He is survived by his mother Virginia Judson Thornburgh, brothers John (Sharon), David (Rebecca) and Bill along with two nephews, four nieces, four grandnieces and one grandnephew.

The Thornburgh family extends its gratitude to the Achieva staff at Whispering Pines, Peter's caregivers for the past six years and also to Wendy Bargo who was responsible for Peter's well-being during his time in Harrisburg.

A celebration of Peter's life will be held on Saturday August 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Bakerstown United Methodist Church, 5760 William Flynn Highway, Gibsonia PA 15044. Burial services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh ( or Achieva (

Arrangements by John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc. (

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Celebration of Life
August 27, 2022

2:00 PM
Bakerstown United Methodist Church
5760 William Flynn Highway
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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