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Donald Eugene Thurman

Donald Thurman was born December 26th, 1927 in Sioux City, Iowa. His mother died when he was only 3 years old, after which his older sister, Margaret, cared for him until she died of tuberculosis before he entered first grade. Donald’s father then moved to the family farm in Kansas, to help care for his aging grandparents, and Donald began school in Altoona. He was a motherless child of the Depression, and largely had to watch out for himself. It seems that he and another little boy at school, a fatherless child named Johnny, were always getting into fights, so his teacher called Donald’s father, and Johnny’s widowed mother in to try and deal with their sons’ behavior. One thing led to another, and they were married. Donald’s new stepmother gave him a sense of being cared for, and he deeply appreciated her kindness to him. His father was a Seventh Day Adventist, but would “go into any church service that he happened to walk by,” Donald said.

The family moved to California for a number of years, where Donald and his family picked a lot of fruit during the Depression, but moved back to Kansas again at the beginning of WW2.

Donald graduated from the Altoona High School, and promptly joined the Army during the WW2 occupation, but spent time in Korea before the Korean War broke out.

When Donald returned home from the service, his brother invited him to a dance, where he met a lovely young woman named Ruth Kebert. She said that when she met Donald she thought to herself, “That’s my man if I never catch him!” They soon married, and were blessed by two children, Janet, and Michael. Janet had Cystic Fibrosis, and only lived until she was 23 years old, but Michael was healthy.

Donald enjoyed working for American Oil until his retirement in the early 1980s, after which he returned to the family farm in Altoona, Kansas. He also enjoyed music, especially music from the 1940s, and hymns.

Michael and Gail had 11 children, who loved visiting the farm, and visiting with Grandpa and Grandma Thurman there.

Donald’s wife, Ruth, passed away in 2015, and in 2019, Donald moved in with his son, Michael, and his wife, Gail, who cared for him in their home until he passed away on December 9, 2023. He would have been 96 years old in only a few weeks. He is survived by his son, Michael, his daughter-in-law Gail, 10 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren.

Donald will be missed. He was a kind man, and a good listener. We look forward to seeing him again in Heaven.

Cremation services are being conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Homes, Inc., Ava, Missouri.