Born Aug. 7, 1922 in Wyalusing, he was a son of the late Bruce R. Rathbun, Sr. and Florence Mann Rathbun.
He was a 1940 graduate of Wyalusing High School where he was an honor student, an allstar basketball player and editor of the school paper, The Rocks. After graduation, he entered the Millersville State Teacher’s College where he continued playing basketball. As with many of his generation, his college years were interrupted by World War II and he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1942. He attended flight school and received his wings and commission in March of 1944. He left for England and France in August of 1944 and piloted a Martin B-26 Marauder bomber on missions in Eastern France and Western Germany until the end of World War II. He was discharged in January 1946 and remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserves until his retirement in 1978 as a lieutenant colonel.
He returned to Millersville and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education. Bruce began his career in education at Tunkhannock High School in September 1946 as an industrial arts teacher and continued for 19 years in that position. He was the first golf coach at Tunkhannock High School and he also coached junior high basketball. He received his master’s degree in school administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and he served as the high school principal for 10 years and as an administrative assistant for three years, retiring in 1978.
Mr. Rathbun was a member of the Tunkhannock Rotary Club, the Tunkhannock Presbyterian Church and the Dennis Strong American Legion Post No. 457.
He started playing golf in the 1950s. He and a friend were the first golfers to tee off at Shadowbrook on opening day in the early 60s, and he remained a member of the golf club throughout his life. He won a couple of senior club championships and has a yearly tournament in his honor.
Bruce was preceded in death by his wife, Anna M. Moore Rathbun and a brother, Edward Alan Rathbun.
Survivors include a daughter, Beth Miner and her husband, William of Meshoppen; sister, Jane Rathbun Schulze and her husband, Harry of Wyalusing; sister-in-law, Marcia Rathbun of Atlanta; grandson, Zachary Dollak and his wife, Christa of Exeter; two great-grandsons, Aidan and Nicholas; nieces, Julie Vilar, Jan Clement, Susan Kern, Laurie Schulze and Rosemary Schulze and nephews, Jay Rathbun and Jon Schulze, along with their spouses and children.
Funeral services were held at the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home, Tunkhannock, with Rev. Kenneth Trexler officiating. Interment was in Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock.
Memorial donations may be made to the Dennis Strong American Legion Post 457 Building Fund, PO Box 457, Tunkhannock, PA 18657.
A graveside service was conducted by the American Legion with Rev. Trexler, a 21-gun salute and a flyover of military vintage aircraft and the playing of taps.