Thomas J. Wurtenberger was born and raised in the Lower Olney (Feltonville) section of Philadelphia in 1935. He was raised primarily by his mother after the death of his father in 1944. Tom attended North Catholic High School where he took business courses. He did not have aspirations to attend college right out of high school. He was encouraged by a former employer to better himself by going to college and earning a degree. One year after graduation Tom enrolled at La Salle College. He chose La Salle because of its reasonable tuition and proximity to home. Originally Tom desired to major in Physical Education, but La Salle did not offer that option so he selected German since he was raised in a strong German community. He graduated in 1958 with his degree in German as well as a minor in history and education. Despite his education in German and history, Tom became a biology teacher when an emergency replacement was needed at South Catholic High School in Philadelphia. He had only one year of biology, but with the help of grants offered to improve science education in America Tom was able to obtain over 150 credit hours in the sciences including a Master’s Degree in Botany from the University of Texas. Tom would spend the over thirty-five years teaching various science subjects at the high school level. The majority of his career was spent at Rancocas Valley High School in Mt. Holly, NJ. In addition to teaching and studying science, Tom has a strong interest in history and genealogy. He attends many lectures on Pre-Revolutionary War America and has traced his family line back to 1746 Germany. Since retiring in 1996 he has made seven trips to Germany to continue research and is currently hoping to return soon to explore new information he has discovered about his family.
Wurtenberger, Thomas J. and Muzyczek, Charles D., "Interview of Thomas J. Wurtenberger" (2013). All Oral Histories. 52.
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