Staff and Administration

Marjorie Hilkert Warburton Thoburn, Educator and School Superintendent

Marjorie Warburton Thoburn
Marjorie Warburton Thoburn

Marjorie Brown Hilkert was born on July 18, 1908 in Ashtabula County, Ohio, the daughter of Frank and May Hilkert.  She attended Ohio State University, graduating in 1932, and studied French at the Royal Victoria College at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

In September 1936, Marjorie Hilkert was hired as a French teacher at the Bratenahl School.  At the time she lived at 14620 Shaw Avenue, East Cleveland.  While teaching at the Bratenahl School, she met George Warburton.

George Warburton was born on April 19, 1891, in Bolton, Lancastershire, England.  He was a graduate of the Manchester College of Technology, where he studied bakery science.  During World War I, he served as an engineer in the Royal Naval Air Service.  Between the world wars, George became the managing director of Warburton, Ltd., a wholesale and retail bakery in Bolton.  In 1939, George traveled to America as part of a world tour.  During a stop in Cleveland, George met Marjorie Hilkert.  They married on December 31, 1939 at East Cleveland Congregational Church.

After marriage, Marjorie Hilkert Warburton continued to teach at the Bratenahl School.  In all, Marjorie taught classes for eight years in Bratenahl, from September 1936 to June 1944.  George Warburton joined the British consulate in Cleveland in 1941 as proconsul.  He was made vice-consul in 1943.  George and Marjorie’s only child, William George Warburton, was born on April 22, 1944.

At the end of World War II, the Warburtons returned to England, where George managed a chain of bakery shops owned by the Warburton family in Bolton, England. The family returned from England in June 1947, moving to a house at 1546 Belle Avenue in Lakewood.  It was there, in December 1948, that George Warburton died of a heart attack.

In 1948, long-time Bratenahl School Superintendent and Principal Sara A. Bair announced her retirement, having served as Superintendent for 35 years and teacher in the school since 1909.  Marjorie Warburton was hired by the Bratenahl School Board to take her place. She held the position for eight years.

On September 3, 1955, Marjorie married Theodore Thoburn at Lakewood Presbyterian Church.   A resident of Bratenahl, Theodore served on the Bratenahl Board of Education since December 1943 and as president of the board of trustees of St. Luke’s Hospital.  Theodore’s first wife, Frances, died in 1951.  He lived at 10125 Lake Shore Boulevard, where he and Marjorie lived after their marriage.  When Marjorie retired as school superintendent, the couple moved to Shaker Heights.

Marjorie Thoburn retired as Superintendent and Principal of the Bratenahl School in 1956.  For many years during and after World War II, Marjorie was active in the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and the English-Speaking Union.  She served as a member of the Council’s board of directors and as chairman of the Council’s committee for educational and cultural exchange.

On November 19, 1964, Marjorie Warburton Thoburn was named an honorary member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.  The honor was bestowed on her by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her outstanding service in the cause of Anglo-American friendship and understanding. She received the insignia of her award from the British ambassador, Lord Harlech, at an investiture at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Theodore Thoburn died on July 13, 1966.  Following Theodore's death, Marjorie married local attorney J. Craig McClelland, a partner with the law firm of Boer Merkle McClelland & Caldwell.  McClelland died on May 9, 1996.

Marjorie Hilkert Warburton Thoburn McClelland died on November 23, 1999 in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  She is buried with her first husband, George Warburton, in Lakewood Cemetery in Rocky River, Ohio.