Arthur W. Thurner

CHICAGO, Ill. – Arthur W. Thurner, age 88, died Dec. 6, 2012, in Chicago.

A native of Calumet, he came to Chicago in 1946 and was a longtime resident of Hyde Park.

Educated at the University of Chicago, he received a Master’s degree in 1954 and a Ph.D in History in 1966. After teaching briefly in Chicago high schools, he taught for 24 years at DePaul University. His courses in history and the humanities utilizing various of the so-called Great Books challenged students and found many admirers. His team-teaching with Dr. Cornelius Sippel of “Fascism and Counterrevolution” was for many years in the 1970’s and 1980’s a highlight of the DePaul University History Department offerings.

He published numerous articles and three books, Calumet Copper and People (1974); Rebels on the Range: The Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike of 1913-1914 (1984); and a social history of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, Strangers and Sojourners (1994). Virginia Peterson Thurner, his wife of 35 years, assisted him greatly and edited all of his work. She died Aug. 15, 1993.

A member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Thurner was active for many years in the Hyde Park Cooperative Society’s annual used book sale.

In the 1940s he developed a belief in American democracy and the basic goodness of human beings. He believed the people were the driving force in history and helped create a better society to meet the needs of the time – beliefs that were only strengthened during his years an an educator. The purpose of history is to illuminate the present condition so wise and proper choices can be made in the continuous reconstruction of society.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Donnellan Funeral Home. To sign the guestbook visit