August, 19, 2013 — Sioux Falls, SD
HOMER EATON THURSTON (Albert 8 , William 7, Benjamin 6 Levi 5, Benjamin 4, Daniel 3, Daniel 2 , John I ). son of Albert Walton Thurston and Alma Hagman Thurston, was born in Highmore, South Dakota, December 19, 1898. He was baptized October, 1899, by Bishop Hurst at Huron when the annual conference was in session there.
Homer attended three grade schools in South Dakota, Scotland, Mt. Vernon, and Flandreau. From 1913 to 1917 the family lived in Canton where he attended high school until his senior year. Then, in October, the-family moved to Yankton where he was graduated from high school in 1918.
During his senior year the United States entered World War I and many young men his age were enlisting. He wanted to enlist but his father persuaded him to wait until he had completed his high school education. By the fall of 1918 the Student Army Training Corps had been organized to enable young men to combine a college education with military training. Homer decided to enter the SATC at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where his father had graduated. The SATC was discontinued in December after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.
When the SATC was discontinued Homer decided to work for the rest of that academic year and enter college the next fall. In September of 1919 he enrolled at Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, where the family was then living. He completed four years there, graduating in 1923 with a P. S. degree and a major in Biology. After graduation he taught for a year (1923-1924) in Faulkton in the high school and then for a year (1924-1925) in Hurley.
In 1925, on December 27, he married Lelia Waite Oaks of Hartford, S. D., who was also teaching in Hurley. They were married in his parents' home in Woonsocket, where his father was then the pastor. From 1926 to 1930 Homer taught science and was principal of the high school in Viborg, S. D. While living in Viborg he , served as commander of the local American Legion and also became a member of the Masonic lodge.
In 1930 he joined the faculty of Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S. D. By attending summer sessions and combining research with his teaching he was able to complete a Masters Degree at the University of South Dakota in 1939
For many years Mr. Thurston headed the Biology Department of Washington High School He was a creative teacher and, in his more advanced classes, encouraged students to identify a problem within the range of their experience and then to carry out an original investigation of the problem. To complete the project they wrote a formally organized and illustrated report. In 1961 he initiated closed circuit television in the Biology Department.
Mr. Thurston held various positions related to his teaching. He was the first president of the Sioux Falls Teachers Association president of the South Dakota Department of Classroom Teachers, and president of the Southeastern South Dakota Biology Teachers group He was also sponsor of a Hi Y club for five years and supervisor of all Hi Y clubs in the high school for twelve years.
For twenty years he was a part-time recreation director for the city of Sioux Falls. At one time he was president of the South Dakota Recreation and Parks Society.
As a teacher and recreation director he belonged to several professional organizations. These included the National Education Association, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Biology Teachers Association, the National Recreation Association, and the Midwest Park and Recreation Association.
Mr. and Mrs. Thurston were both active in the First Methodist Church of Sioux Falls, and for some years he was on the Board of Trustees of the church. In Sioux Falls he maintained his memberships in the American Legion and the Masonic Lodge (where he was a 32nd Degree Mason.)
On his birthday, on January 19, 1964, Mr. Thurston was honored by being named the Argus Leader's Citizen of the Week.
Homer Thurston died in Sioux Falls on May 8, 1966, of malignant multiple myeloma about a month and a half after the anemic condition from which he was suffering had been diagnosed. He had taught for 36 years in Washington High School and had planned to retire at the end of that year. He was buried in Sioux Falls in the Hills of Rest Cemetery.
(119) Herbert David Thurston, born I-larch 24, 1927, at Sioux Falls, S. D. Married Betty Marie Hillers, born May 15, 1930, at Chester, S. D., daughter of William Albert Hillers and Emma Rose Gienapp (Hillers).
(120) Virginia Lee Thurston, born June 16, 1929, at Viborg, S. D. Married Louis Crane Eaton' 9 ' born April 14, 1923, at Fargo, N. D., son of Louis Hadley Eaton and Laura Edna Crane (Eaton). She died January 25, 1994.
(121) Charles Albert Thurston born, September 27, 1931, at Sioux Falls. Married Donna Hansen, daughter of Mrs. Lena Hanson of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He died January 13, 1976.
(122) John Oaks Thurston, born January 10, 1945, at Sioux Falls, Married Margaret (Becky) Daley, born July 2, 1947 daughter of Milo and Margaret Dailey.