Donald E (Thirsty) Thurston, age 92, passed away peacefully on January 11, 2011 at his residence.

He was born on March 24, 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois, a son of Walter and Alberta (Jennison) Thurston and they preceded him in death.

He lived his boyhood time in the Chicago area and lived his adult life in Cadillac, Michigan. Don was employed by Michigan Bell Telephone for thirty five years as a repairman working on telephone poles and in ditches splicing around trouble in the lines. After early retirement from Ma Bell he worked another eight years working indoors putting in telephone switches. During his non-working hours he was transporting his boys to and from sports events as well as serving in the community as a Mason, achieving the 32nd degree, Worshipful Master, and receiving a sixty year award pin.

After the boys left for college, Don and Mary Ann served in the community showing educational movies at Kirtland Terrace, or helping with Relay for Life, or painting maps of the USA at elementary schools through the Bell Pioneers, or cleaning at the Bay Cliff Health Camp in the U.P., or attending Cadillac Vikings ski meets, baseball or football games and encouraging the players or helping the Patriot Choir with their performances.

During retirement, you could usually find Don on Pleasant Lake in the early morning fishing. Then after breakfast with Mary Ann, he would be at the picnic table fixing or making something. There weren't many things he couldn't repair. You probably saw him or the license tag "Thirsty" around Northern Michigan as he logged over two million miles, accident free, in the Bell repair trucks or in at least fifteen different personal vehicles from a 1957 rising wing Plymouth, Sport Fury, New Yorker, Fury III, Duster, dune buggy, panel van, Ranger, Journey, and recently a Dodge Dart and was still driving at the age of 92.

Don is survived by his wife of 70+ years, Mary Ann (Carlson) Thurston; his sons Gary (Judy) Thurston of Grand Rapids, MI and Rick Thurston of Cadillac; four grandchildren Adele, Connor, Devin and Jennise (Strifler).

He was preceded in death by his parents, his step dad Ed Ingram, his brother Charles and sister Betty Beauprie.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Patriot Choir, c/o Barb Corpe, 6400 W. Kelly Rd., Lake City, MI 49651.An online guestbook is available at

Cadillac News

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