Remembering Thurmon King
Glenna and I were fortunate to get to attend a number of the early Sackett Family Reunions starting with the second one. It was at those events we came to know and love Thurmon and Sylvia King. They were spiritual, loving, and caring people. The thing that stood out when talking to Thurmon was his ability to recall extensive genealogy data and make interconnections across a wide range of information. He may not have had a photographic mind but he certainly made you wonder if he didn’t. He loved to solve a puzzle or mystery – especially if it involved real people – past and present.
When he and Sylvia retired they purchased a rural 5-acre “farm” north of Pasco, WA – a town of about 80,000 at the junction of the famous Snake and Columbia rivers. The farm was located on an arid but fertile plain in south central Washington that was made productive by irrigation from the two rivers. They loved the rural life in their modern triple wide prefab home. At one reunion, Thurmon was muscled up. I asked him if he was lifting weights. He said he wasn’t in the traditional sense. The “flower” beds around their home had been filled with round river rocks by the previous owner. Thurmon and Sylvia wanted real flowers and vegetables in their gardens so Thurmon dug up the river rock, filled 12 five-gal plastic buckets with the rock, lifted them into the back of their Doge SUV, and transported them to place at the edge of a road along a drainage canal. It took him seven loads of 12 buckets!!! He was in his 80’s. That gives you a measure of his work ethic.
When Thurmon started working on the Sackett Family database, he had only a land line with dialup internet. Remember the bzzzzzzz, “You’ve got mail!” response? When the connection was successful, it was VERY slow. It took a lot of patience to communicate this way. In later years he had access through a faster satellite connection.
When Sylvia developed mobility problems, they moved to a one story home in Pasco. Thurmon and their children helped remodel the home. The new home was closer to family and medical services. Sylvia still insisted on cooking the evening meal even though she required a wheelchair to get around.
In July of 2018 Thurmon gave a brief update of their situation on TSFA list. It had been several years since Glenna and I had seen him, so I sent him a private email to “catch up.” He responded with a wonderful and extensive email. I will end by quoting him from a part of that thread.
FROM THURMON’S 2018 EMAIL
“Due to the fact that I have always been something of a "research nut" I enjoyed working as the Sackett Historian. I actually started the database to help Chris Sackett. He had started on a project to update Weygant's book by 2001. Members of the mailing list were sending in their information faster than he could get it entered into his database. He asked for members to stop until he could get caught up. After a month or so, I felt that interest in the project was fading. I posted a note telling the members to send the information to me and I would send it to Chris when he got ready to enter more information. Chris encouraged me to continue developing the database, concentrating on Sacketts and descendants living in North America and he could continue developing information about Sacketts in other countries.
As you probably know, it becomes quite interesting when you discover that something was done incorrectly after quite a bit has been entered. Well, I had used 3 different genealogy programs before I got Legacy. And information entered into the other programs didn't always agree with one another and Legacy was no exception. Thankfully, I had other TSFA members who worked with me on the database and other projects. That really helped get things into a better format.
I was glad when Ted Smith volunteered to take over the Sackett Database. He immediately moved it to its present site and has done most of the work on it. The program he uses allows him to permit other researchers to edit and add their (ancestry) line as long as they follow the rules of the program he uses. And he has added plenty of individuals and information to the database. Ted is still finding things that need to be changed.
So, I am happy, and proud, of all the work that has been done in the Sackett family research since we started around the time TSFA was founded.”
May you rest in peace Thurmon King. You were a good man.
Rachel Stella #112
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Thank you so much for your wonderful response. Sylvia will appreciate it, I'm sure.
On Sun, Jan 1, 2023 at 5:20 PM Don Hertzler <hertzld@...> wrote:
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