Crow Canyon is sad to report the passing of William R. “Bill” Thurston on June 6 at the age of 90. Bill and his wife, Beatrice “Mickie” Thurston, have been involved with Crow Canyon since 1983. They received an Honor Award from Crow Canyon in 2008.
Bill was a member of the Crow Canyon Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1993. Over the years, the Thurstons were very generous in supporting capital improvements and infrastructure at the Center. They made gifts to fund Crow Canyon’s domestic water system, first computer system, and first accounting software package, and they contributed to many construction, renovation, repair, and improvement projects. According to Vice President of Development and Planning Melinda Burdette, Bill was known to say, “We don’t want our names on anything, we just want to help do the work under the floorboards that needs to get done, but nobody else wants to pay for.”
Bill and Mickie moved to Durango, Colorado, in 1977. They were active in promoting the arts in the Durango area—they founded the Four Corners Opera and were sponsors of the Music in the Mountains annual event. They also organized a concert series to fund the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College and supported an artist-in-residence program and several geology scholarships at the college.
Bill and Mickie also traveled the world photographing birds and collecting orchids. Bill gave the orchids to the Denver Botanic Gardens, another favorite cause.
|Part of the "greatest generation," Bill flew|
torpedo bombers in World War II.
Bill received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Harvard University while training to fly torpedo bombers for the Navy after Pearl Harbor. Although his plane was riddled with bullets several times, Bill was never injured. He would stay over the target sites after bombing runs to take photos, which were later published in a book about his air group.
Between service stints in World War II and the Korean War, Bill worked for Sun Oil Company. After the Korean War, he joined an independent oilman, and by the time he was in his 80s, he owned interests in more than 400 oil wells.
Bill is survived by his wife and four daughters, three sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorial contributions be sent to Crow Canyon or the William R. Thurston Geology Scholarship at Fort Lewis College. Crow Canyon extends its deepest condolences to his family—he will be missed by Crow Canyon and the entire Four Corners area community.