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David Wheeler Thurston, 93, died peacefully January 31, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona, surrounded by his four children.

 

Born on April 25, 1923, in Portland, Maine, to Theodore and Kathryn Thurston, he was a ninth-generation American, whose ancestors arrived from Kent, England, in 1635. 

 

A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, and Williams College (1944, cum laude), Dave was a member of Chi Psi and the Gargoyle Honor Society, editor of the college paper, and captain of the Varsity Soccer team.

 

After Pearl Harbor in 1941, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps as a flight navigator. After the war, Mr. Thurston worked as an advertising executive in New York City for over forty years, helping found Broadcast Advertisers Reports, from which he retired, as Executive Vice-President, in 1987.

 

On November 27, 1954, he married Frances Davis, and they raised their family in Rye. During their four decades in the community, he served as a tireless advocate for his local community, including a dozen years at the non-profit charity Rye United Fund, Inc. (including as president), ten years on the Rye School Board (1970-80, also as president), and, after retiring, nine years as a volunteer recruiter for the International Executive Services Corps, placing 272 executives on projects in 60 different countries.

 

Leaving work early or giving up his weekends, Dave actively participated in the lives of his four children: whether serving as class parent at Midland Elementary School; cheering them on at a Rye High School activity or sporting event; navigating them down the slopes of a Vermont ski resort; driving them in a Winnebago on family vacations; or handing them their diploma as a Rye School Board member.

 

Always very active and fit, he loved baseball, skiing, and tennis. He was also a voracious reader who possessed a keen intellect and sharp wit. Not only did he always finish New York Times crossword puzzles, but usually did so in pen. 

 

With close family friends, the Thurstons hosted many celebratory weekend and holiday parties at their Forest Avenue home, where the laughter was infectious, and Dave often regaled the guest of honor with a handcrafted limerick on a pull-down shade.

 

In 1998, the couple retired to Tucson, where Fran Thurston died in 2004.

 

Mr. Thurston is survived by his four children: Ted of San Jose, Calif., Charlie and his wife Kimberly of Rye, Nancy of Bigfork, Mont., and Jim of Glenview, Ill.; his sister Joan Spear of Ashland, Ore.; and by six grandchildren: Taylor, Kyle, Isabel, David II, Natalie, and Ellie.

 

A memorial service will be held this spring at Rye Presbyterian Church, where his remains will join those of his late wife, Fran. Donations in Mr. Thurston’s memory may be made to the Rye Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden, Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580.

 


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