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August 24, 1924 — December 4, 2017

Thurston E. Doler was born August 24, 1924 in Evergreen, Alabama and died December 4, 2017 in Corvallis. He was 93 years old.

Thurston was raised on a cotton farm in northern Mississippi during the Great Depression and, with his younger siblings, worked very hard to keep the farm going. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in East Mississippi Junior College.

In 1943, Thurston enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and began pilot training shortly thereafter. He met his future wife, Doris Erikson, while stationed at Westover Air Base near Springfield, Massachusetts. The couple became engaged in 1945.

He was in the process of shipping out from San Francisco to the Pacific Theater in 1945 when the war ended. He was discharged from the Air Corps in 1946 and moved to South Carolina to attend Furman University.

On June 14, 1947 Thurston and Doris were married in Springfield, Massachusetts—a happy union that lasted 70 years.

After Thurston completed his Master’s Degree at Purdue University in 1949, he and Doris moved to Corvallis where he had accepted a position at Oregon State University. He and Doris intended to stay only one year but—as it turned out—they lived the rest of their lives there.

As time went by, they added three children to their family: Sandra in 1951, Eric in 1953 and Tamara in 1957.

In 1968, after returning to graduate school at the University of Oregon, Thurston completed his PhD in Speech Communication. He taught at OSU for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1989 after 40 years at the University. He coached students in Forensics, as well as in the Model United Nations and filled many offices in the University’s academic and professional organizations, notably using his skill as a parliamentarian for the OSU faculty senate. In 1990, he received the D. Curtis Mumford Faculty Service Award.

Thurston’s involvement in the wider Corvallis community included membership on the City Planning Commission, the PTA and the Democratic Party, as well as chairing the board of the Corvallis Retirement Village that sponsored the building of the Stoney Brook Retirement Village.

He was a lifelong and active member of the First Baptist Church; his deep and abiding faith informed and comforted him throughout his long life, while his kind and fair-minded approach to others also contributed to the love and respect others had for him.

He is survived by his wife Doris; his three children; seven grandchildren (Lisa, Jessica, Joshua, Caitlyn, Nicole, Paul and Matthew); and three great-grandchildren (Henrietta, Rowan and Erikson).

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on January 6th, 2018 at the McHenry Funeral Home, with a reception to follow.

Thurston is deeply missed by his entire family—and many others.

Memorial contributions can be made to the First Baptist Church in Corvallis or World Vision.

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