Mabel Ione Parrish Thurman was born Jan. 3, 1907, on a farm near Bee, Nebr. She passed away Dec. 3, 2011, in McPherson, Kan., at the age of 104 years and 11 months--exactly one month shy of her 105th birthday. Her parents were Julia Etta Lusher Parrish and Arthur Warren Parrish.
In 1909, the family moved to Custer County, onto a farm four miles northwest of Oconto. Mabel attended Lucky Star District 213 and Lower Lodi District 73.
May 25, 1927, she married J. Lloy Thurman. Together they raised five children on the Thurman farm outside of Oconto. They were married 70 years when Lloy passed away April 28, 1998, at their home.
Active in her community, Mabel was a member of the Lower Lodi Women's Club, Lodi Extension Club, and the United Methodist Church. She was very involved in 4-H, youth activities with the church, and in later years, the Oconto Senior Center. Mabel especially enjoyed her membership on the Oconto Library Board.
Her interests, besides farming and ranching with husband Lloy, included gardening, traveling, sewing and writing. Mabel often shared the flowers, seeds and plants from her expansive gardens with neighbors, friends and relatives.
She and Lloy traveled to Alaska, Canada and all throughout the United States. Staying in touch with family and friends was a priority for them both.
Mabel was a life-long reader and devoted daily time for writing. An accomplished seamstress, she created clothing, quilts and clever gifts for others. Mabel also appreciated music and loved to play the piano.
Mabel wrote the Lower Lodi news for the Callaway area newspaper and the Custer County Chief from 1935 until Lloy's death in 1998. She would conclude her column with current weather updates, intended particularly for out-of-town subscribers.
Mabel moved to McPherson, Kan., in May 1998 to the Cedars Courts Assisted Living. She became involved with new activities and made many new friends through those 13 1/2 years. A yearly tradition initiated on the farm in Nebraska to help with projects in later life-'WorkFest'-continued after her move to McPherson with a strictly social nature. Family members traveled from near and far to gather in her honor.
Fond memories include teaching grand-kids how to polka around the big table in the farm kitchen, great angel food cakes and special sour-dough pancakes, watching her nimble fingers type up 'the news' for the local papers, expert egg-gathering technique in the hen house, skillful demonstration of getting over a high wooden fence quickly when she was 77 yrears old, amazing 'green thumb', thoughtful conversations, gratitude for family.
Humble and considerate, she was a role model to her family and others just by being herself. Her wisdom, such as-"Use the colors in Nature and you'll never go wrong"; "Make do with what you have"; as well as her always positive attitude and fun-loving spirit will be greatly missed.
Survivors include three sons and their wives, Keith and Shirley Thurman of Ten Sleep, Wyo., L. Duane and B. Joan Thurman of Tulsa, Okla., and Ronald and Judy Thurman of Bryson City, NC; two daughters and their husbands, Dolores and Dick Weatherly of McPherson, Kan., A. Joan (Schubert) and Wes Dreher of Arvada, Colo.; 15 grandchildren, Beverly, Robert, Linda O., Cynthia, Karol, Jeff, Sonya, Dan, Linda T., Bryan, Brett, Janna, Mark, Bruce, Diana and respective spouses; 20 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Mabel was preceded in death by her husband, Lloy; siblings Walter, Ray and Violet; son-in-law, Delton Schubert; grandson Greg Schubert, and granddaughter Denise Weatherly.
Funeral services will be at the Oconto Community Center Thursday, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m. with the Rev. Doug Jones officiating. Burial will be in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Callaway.
Published in Custer County Chief, Dec. 8, 2011