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Ellen McIntyre Thurston

August 15, 1920 ~ July 17, 2019 (age 98)

Whiteville: Ellen McIntyre Thurston, age 98, passed away at Liberty Commons on Wed. July 17, 2019.


She was born in Nash County, NC, on August 15, 1920 to Kenneth Henry and Eula Ellen McIntyre. She and her eight siblings grew up in Red Oak, NC.  As adults, family gatherings always included endless hours of Bridge.


After graduating from Red Oak High School in 1937, she attended Meredith College for one year. She transferred to East Carolina Teachers’ College and graduated in 1941 with a degree in Home Economics and Science.


Athletics was always a major part of her life. She played basketball in high school and at Meredith College. According to the Meredith yearbook, she led her freshman team to defeat the seniors in the annual class tournament. At East Carolina she played soccer.  She was an active participant and office holder in literary and social groups and societies, served on the school’s newspaper staff and as a marshal, and was named to the eighth edition of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.


She taught Home Economics for three years at Littleton High School. In January 1945, she moved to Whiteville and began work as a home supervisor with the Farmers Home Administration. She met and married Beverly Kent Thurston of Whiteville, who was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.


They joined the First Presbyterian Church where both were faithful members. She taught Sunday School, led youth group, was active in her circle, held offices in the Presbyterian Women and was named an honorary life member. For many years she was a Girl Scout leader and Yokefellows Prison Ministry volunteer.


In the early 1960’s she was manager of the Whiteville City Schools’ cafeterias. In 1965-1966 she was “Mother” to Whiteville’s first foreign exchange student, Letty Koevoets of Zierikzee, Holland.


She enjoyed traveling, yard work, reading, playing Bridge and attending Carolina basketball and football games. She never missed an activity where her children were involved and was always available to support her grandchildren in their activities.


Asked how she would like to be remembered, she said, “As one who loved and served God, and loved her family so much and was proud of each one.”


She is survived by her daughter Kaye Thurston Pope (Paul) of Whiteville, grandsons David Goldston (Ashley) of Myrtle Beach and Thurston Pope, Wilmington; daughter-in-law Nancy Faircloth Thurston; granddaughters Mandy Thurston Horne (Josh) of Whiteville, Bethany Thurston Boyles (Tyler) of Murfreesboro, TN, and grandson Chandler Thurston, Murfreesboro, TN; great-granddaughters Grace Goldston, Carlee Goldston, Maggie Horne, Ellie Horne, and great-grandson Toby Horne; sisters Peggy Reed, Virginia Beach, VA, Jean Smith (Jim) Lake Hartwell, GA, and special daughter Letty Koevoets Jolly (John), Neptune Beach, FL. She was predeceased by her husband Beverly Kent Thurston, son William Kenneth Thurston, brothers Kenneth McIntyre, Dan McIntyre, Duncan McIntyre, and sisters Patsy McIntyre, Dorothy McIntyre Sanders, and Tempe McIntyre Nixon.


A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday July 20,2019 at First Presbyterian Church, Whiteville, preceded by a reception for friends and family in the fellowship hall, from 2:00-3:45 PM. Contributions in her memory may be made to Whiteville First Presbyterian Church or Community Counseling Center (formerly Presbyterian Counseling Center), 4810 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington, NC 2840.

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