Marcella (Marcy) D. Rathburn (formerly McCleary) of 320 Crestview Dr. Franklin, PA passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 after a short illness. She would have celebrated her 92nd birthday on August 6. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law for the last several years.
Marcella was born August 6th, 1931 in Titusville, PA to Joseph Franklin Zerres and Ella Mae (Kightlinger) Zerres. She married Lynn Burke Rathburn on August 23, 1948. Together they had two children, Vicki Lynn Rathburn (Mark Stephenson) and Gary Martin Rathburn (Kelly Marchus Rathburn). They divorced in December 1969. She married Richard McCleary March 23, 1983. They divorced March 23, 2020.
In 1981, she and her mother purchased a home at 305 Washington St. Franklin, PA. This residence was her pride and joy. She planted beautiful flowers every year, and people would often stop to admire the property.
When her children were in high school, her son was the drummer and lead singer in a band called The Shades of Grey. They became a huge part of her life, and she and her mother would attend most of their performances. To this day Bill Cochran, Jeff Wolfe, and Mike McNierney, along with stage manager Roger Spence, are considered her “kids.” All of Gary and Vicki’s friends called her Mom.
She worked all her life, first at Western Union, then Sylvania. Following her divorce in 1969, she became a Nurse’s Aide and provided Private Nursing care for several families in Titusville. During this period her father passed away. Her mother moved into her home to care for Vicki and Gary. Her dream since childhood was to become a nurse, so she took advantage of services offered by the City of Titusville. Instead of a GED, she completed her high school courses to earn a diploma at Titusville High School. She was then accepted into the VoTech LPN program. She graduated in November of 1977. She began her nursing career in the ER at Franklin Hospital, working in that department for many years until accepting the position of Nurse Manager for Dr. Peter Thompson. She worked closely with Dr. Thompson and his many patients until her retirement in 1998.
Her great passions were hunting, fishing, camping, square dance competitions, cooking, watching her beloved Steelers and Pirates and Penn State football, riding motorcycles until the age of 88 with a group of seniors who planned day trips together, feeding the birds and squirrels, and enjoying all the wildlife at her home. She loved all animals, especially cats and dogs. Many called her an “animal whisperer” due to her ability to train so many to perform tricks (including a Parakeet who talked). She rescued many feral cats (her last cat, Moochie, lived to the age of 22). Wild birds would land on her finger and eat from her hand. She loved talking and visiting with friends and family, helping others, and especially knitting and crocheting. She made hats for newborns and chemo patients, lap blankets and gloves for veterans, gifts of blankets, gloves, hats, cowls, and potholders for family and friends. She was a member of the Moose Club, cooking enormous meals for their gatherings. She played music all her life (accordion, piano, organ, and bass guitar). She was the surviving member of The Country Five band, playing bass guitar and singing solo and backup vocals with her sweet, lovely voice. They performed at parties, malls, and nursing homes, delighting audiences.
Marcella is survived by her daughter, son, and precious granddaughters: Hayley Ella (Rathburn) Sorensen (Karl) of Tacoma, WA, and Emily Ruth (Rathburn) Knox (Randel) of Bonney Lake, WA, many cousins, nieces and nephews, all of her “surrogate” children, including Christine Eakin, Cindy Nosko, Jane Harrison, Debbie Devine Smith, and Martha Jewell Gaber, her beloved brother-in-law Thomas Rathburn and her dearest friends Marilyn Frederick and Connie Westfall.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Clarence “Red” Zerres, nieces Patty and Kathy Zerres, her ex-husband Lynn, mother-in-law Ruth Rathburn and sisters-in-law Marge Larson, Saundra Rathburn, and Susan Zerres.
There will be no viewing or services.
Cremation services entrusted to Huff-Guthrie Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 312 West Park St. Franklin.
Donations can be made to the Venango County VNA, Collins House, Venango County Humane Society and Precious Paws.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.HuffGuthrie.com.