These are Stories that MaKayla (my daughter) gathered together for a Young Woman's project back in 2003. We never knew Verland and hadn't heard many stories, so she put this together asking family and friends to send her stories, and this is what she got. If you have any stories you would like to add to our collection please email them to
Verland was a good father, but he was a "great" grandpa. Just before Chad's second birthday he spent a week at Grandma and Grandpa Thurston's house. Grandpa and Chad would play baseball on the front lawn. Chad loved baseball, Grandpa would pitch to him and when Chad hit the ball he would run in a circle like he was rounding the bases. Grandpa would shout, "Run Chad, run". As he approached home base he would say, "Slide Chad, slide". Chad would slide then jump up and dust off his pants. After Chad had his turn he would tell Grandpa to hit the ball, then he would shout, "Run Grandpa run slide Grandpa slide". Of course Grandpa would run and slide just as Chad had instructed. Whenever they were together this was on of their favorite games to play.
Dad always took a week off for the deer hunt. It seemed like from the time I was able to walk that was the one week I always looked forward to. Dad would take us boys, and usually a few cousins or friends. Grandpa Thurston would come along some years also.
When Grandpa Thurston would come we would sleep in the back of his truck. In the cold nights Dad would cover up boys with three or four jean blankets. I still remember the weight being so much you could not turn to your side. You slept on your back all night. Before we retired Grandpa Thurston would tell us, "go drain your lizard". He didn't want us wetting in his bed. Later years Dad had a camp trailer we would take. Even though Dad was a good marksman with a rifle most of those early excursions did not result in much venison. Probably having young boys tagging along, talking, throwing and kicking rocks, gave any deer fair warning. But slowly Dad taught me about looking for deer sign, tracking, shooting, camping, and finding my way around the mountains. In my teenage years we were more successful in the hunts. We would usually butcher the venison at Grandpa Thurston's back yard in Mesquite, or in our garage at our Las Vegas home dad had a large meat saw we would use. I have a great love for the mountains and nature I believe Dad instilled this in me because of his love for the same.
When I was eight or nine, our Cub Scout pack had just finished having our pinewood derby races. We decided afterwards to have a soapbox derby race. There was a large mountain of dirt on a vacant lot on the corner of Lake Mead Boulevard and Carey Street. It had a long gradual slope to it, perfect for riding our cars down. I told Dad and we started building our soapbox derby. Dad always liked fast cars and the derby car was no exception. He cut the floorboard of the car in the shape of an hourglass. He removed the axels, wheels, and steering wheel from a pedal car that Brent and I had played on as children. He let me help paint it a royal blue color and the wheels we painted red. When we were finished it looked like a miniature formula one racecar. I had the coolest car in the pack; everyone else had cars with square boxes for front ends, ropes for steering, and lawn mower tires. My car was sleek, had racing tires and a steering mechanism attached to a steering wheel. I lost my first race but after that I won every race I ran down the hill. Nobody had a car as fast and especially as cool looking as the one my dad built.
Dad was a strong man, especially his arms (biceps). I remember myself and two friends, Dick and Ronnow, trying to wrestle him down in our front yard one evening. We were sixteen or seventeen years old. Dick was small but Ronnow was 6'2" and lifted weights,
Ronnow had his arms,
Dick had a hold of a leg and I had the other leg. Well, Dad stepped out of my hold; flung Ronnow across the lawn with one arm then grabbed Dick by an arm and a leg and swung him up nine to ten feet to the roof of our house. That ended that fight.
Later at a softball tournament in Prescott at the hotel swimming pool six or seven of u boys put Dad in the pool fully clothed. But of course he took all of us in with him. We did not mess with him much after that.
Verland ----My Brother
Memories of by gone days have diminished now that I’m getting older so this is a glimpse of memories of things I remember about my brother, Verland Thurston.
In my mind of memories I see Verland the teenager, in front of the fireplace primping in front of the large mirror over the mantle combing his hair, checking out his looks and teasing, saying to us, “What a good looking guy, huh?” To be honest I really did see him as this tall good-looking guy. I believe he was probably about 5’10 or 5’11 but to me at my age he was tall. He was always teasing—if not, he and Audrey were wrestling on the couch falling off to the floor laughing and noisy until mother would come in and shoo them outside.
I remember when he was young, he went through a bullying phase and he was mischievously teasing a wimpy girl telling her he had a knife and was going to cut her ears off . She went running to her home crying and telling her mother. A very irate mother came to the house and had a talk with Verland and mother. I’m sure that was a turning point for him.
There was the time Verland and Kent had a car accident coming down the hill and how worried and upset mother was. I was young but I remember the scare and feeling of upset.
One summer after Verland married Dorothy, they lived in Las Vegas in an apartment on Owens and there was a swimming pool across the street that I got to swim in a lot. Fun times for me that week.
Being the last girl and next to the last child I was young and probably to self absorbed to be paying much attention to an older brother who was busy with school and then dating Dorothy.
My husband and I took the kids to California. That night just before bedtime we had a disagreement. We weren’t very happy with each other when we went to bed. I awaken at 5:00 a.m. with a very sad feeling; the argument wasn’t that serious for such a feeling of sadness. On the way back home to Las Vegas the feeling lingered, I also had a discomfort in my chest so I sat in the back seat. As we entered our home the phone was ringing and my best friend ask me if I had talked to my sister Audrey. I explained we had just arrived home. She said there was a death in the family and of course my first thought was of my parents since they were elderly. I called Audrey and she said I needed to sit down and then she told me that Verland had passed away that morning. What a shock and sad time this was for our family. This was very hard on mother; she said she always felt she would die before any of her children.
I imagine this must be why, while we have the time, to stay close to those we love and take the time to remember, cherish, and appreciate those memories we do have.
August 1, 2003
By Maxine Ware
I have lots of memories of my dad. He was a pretty cool dad. He worked a lot. He would even have to work nights so he would sleep during the day. When he was at home he liked to water his grass. He would watch us play while he would water. He would always give us change to go to the whistle stop to buy candy or a treat. He always had change in his pocket. When the ice cream truck would come down the road he would let us buy something.
He liked to work in his garage that was behind the house. Always fixing a bike or putting a bike together. He would stop and shoot a basketball with us. The basketball hoop was attached to the garage.
He liked his bar-be-que grill in the back yard. We would have family over for cookouts in the back yard. That was always fun. We had a croquet game that he would set up and get us playing. He would watch or even play once in a while.
We must have had our house fumigated. Dad and mom had a mattress on the side of the house. I remember we couldn't go in the house. Dad and mom were making out on the mattress. We thought that was pretty funny.
Pine Valley with the camper was always fun. We had Brads white truck one time. He put the tail gate down so we can sit on it. He drove us around. Duane jumped off and started to run along side him. Dad speed up and I feel off the tailgate and broke my wrist. In St. George the next morning while I was getting my arm x-rayed and casted with mom. Dad and Duane and Dori went to McDonalds to play.
Dad liked country music. He drove the little green pickup truck and listen to the cassette tapes.
Christmas was fun helping him put the green and blue lights on the house. He would let us help. He love to sit and the couch and just relax. He always carried a pocket comb in his shirt pocket. Dori would comb his hair for hours.
My dad was a easy going guy. I don't remember seeing him stressed out. He didn't yell or get mad at us. He didn't have to have guy night out. He was at work or home with the family he seemed to be happy just chilling at home watching Gun Smoke or Bonanza or Lawrence Welk. Those were his favorite T.V. shows. He didn't like his ice cream in a bowl he loved to eat it with a spoon right out of the carton. He loved ice cream. He sent me to Safeway many times to buy him a 1/2 gallon carton of ice cream.
He worked a lot of Sundays. But when he didn’t he came to church. I loved to sit by him because he would bounce Dori on his knee and it entertained me.
One year on mother’s day, dad took us out to eat. Mom was throwing a fit because it was Sunday. Dad didn't care. He was just calm and relaxed and enjoyed his dinner. Mom was worried someone was going to see us there.
We spent a lot of time at the church ball fields. I remember him playing one year. Mostly just always watching the boys or I play. I played on the Junior High team. The games were always right after school. Mom was teaching piano and was never able to make it. Dad was working at that time. I remember one game that I saw dad walk up in his work clothes and It made me play as hard as I could. I was so excited to see him. It was a surprise and I knew that he really did care.
Sundays we seem to go to Klint and Gail’s a lot. They would play rook. The night before he passed away we were at their house. I had dishes to do. I couldn't come out of the kitchen until I was done. Dad called me to go get mom and I was very honery. He was sick all night. The morning we woke to mom yelling for everyone. Duane called 911 and Laurie took Dori and I in our rooms and knelt down to say a prayer. We didn't come out until he was taken by the paramedics.
He was a great dad! I love him and miss him all the time. He would be proud of everyone. He loved us all.
Darla Dawn Thurston St. Clair
A Single Rose
Verland died May 26, 1980. May 28, 1980 would have been our 25th
Anniversary. I woke up sick and shaky and cold. My teeth were chattering and my body cold. I knew I had symptoms of shock. I wrapped up until I felt warm. Every room was filled with someone sleeping and my only refuge was the garage outside. I took the garage key, opened the door, shut the door and for the first time sobbed! My heart hurt so badly that I wanted to die too. After some time, I regained my composure and walked out to the front yard. It was early dawn and there on our rosebush was one small rose bud. My mind went back 23 years ago when we planted our first rose bush. When the first bud came on, Verland brought it to me and told me that he wanted me to have the first one. There I stood on our anniversary knowing that he wanted me to pick it and take it in the house and place it in a vase with water.
ELEVEN YEARS LATER:
May 28, 1991
It is my anniversary today and also the date we buried Verland 11 year ago. It was a difficult day and I wondered how I would get through it. I didn't mention our anniversary to anyone but for some reason it was the most difficult one so far. The Lord always blesses me and this day it was no different. I was sitting in my office contemplating the past 11 years and feeling lonely. A knock came to the door and Mike Renstrom, a senior student enters holding a long-stemmed red rose. I just looked at him as he told me he loved me and then tears filled my eyes. I must have shocked him somewhat and asked him to forgive me. Finally I told him that it was my anniversary and that he had just done something very special. His eyes filled with tears and we gave each other a hug.
Mike is a sensitive young man with a great future. He is involved in a family theater and has had many leads in plays. I have felt close to him and he came back later in the day with 6 complimentary tickets. He had said that in his prayers last night he told the Lord to please guide him to someone that needed his help. He said that he was driving down the street and passed a flower shop. He thought of me and turned around and bought a rose. What more can I say? Once again, I was taught and blessed by a student.
A couple of birthday stories
Jan 5, 1965 Funny story: Verland’s 31st birthday. Tried to clean the house quietly while he slept. He is on swing shift and doesn't get home until midnight. I made a sorry looking birthday cake, put candles on it and then hid it in the oven so little fingers would not get in it. Forgetting about the cake, I later turned the oven on We had a melted wax frosting. QUITE DELIGHTFUL!
Jan 5, 1980 (Verland's last birthday on earth) Verland’s birthday today.
Brent was up early and prepared to go back to Ricks. Before he left, we had prayer and expressed gratitude for his dad. Verland is a great man in our lives. We all became weepy. It was one of those special moments in eternity that bind families together. Verland and I have great love for our family and wish for nothing more than to be with them for eternity…
MaKayla, your grandpa was a gentle, kind man who worked hard and never missed a day of work even when he was sick. They could depend on him! He was fascinated with TV! He loved to hunt! He loved to camp! He loved to watch his children play any kind of ball. He loved his family and he thought his children were perfect. I know he feels the same way about his grandchildren.
My dad would sit in a yellow rocking chair and watch Bonanza while I would comb through his black thick hair. I would get out my pink sponge curlers and he would sit there and let me put his hair in curlers. It is one of my favorite memories of my Dad. I loved to comb his hair and He would let me. I remember…
* He would water the lawns and watch me play in the tree in the front yard.
*His green Toyota Truck and listening to country music while we drove.
*Going to eat at Macayo’s for special occasions.
*Having to be quiet during the day because he worked all night.
*Camping, one time on a camping trip we watched a double feature movie. The first movie was the Grizzly bear and he had to take me out because I was so scared. The second movie it didn’t get any better it was Orca, about a killer whale, and we ended up not even seeing the movie. We went back to the trailer after the movies and I got very little sleep that night because I thought a bear was goingto come get us.
*Being at the baseball fields.
*Watching a thunder storm and eating watermelon.
Dorea Dawn Thurston Rogers
(8 years old when father passed away)
In 1968 I would have had been only 4 or 5 years old. A lot of my memories do with cars, for some reason I can always remember what kind of car we had. We went to Cedar City to pick up a VW VoltsWagon and I remember dad letting me ride home with him to Las Vegas in it, I felt very special to be able to do that.
I have a lot of good memories hunting. I remember was when we where out hunting and I would walk behind him. One year he let me carry a gun it was a 22 semi-automatic riffle. If we saw rabbits or something he would stop and let me shot at them, I put a bullet in the chamber and I was going to shoot at one but, it went behind a bush. We started walking again and about 100 yards latter all sudden it went off and it shot three times quickly. I just missed my dad by a couple of feet; it was kind of like the old cowboy show where they would dance. I’ve never seen him dance like that.
He bought his green Toyota truck, I remember him installing a cassette player. He used to always play country music. One I remember the most is Johnny cash.
One night he got called back into work out at Blue Diamond and for about 4 hours. It was a swing shift from about 7 to 11 p.m. and he let me got out with him that night and I thought wow! It was so amazing and big and he had a bike out there he also had a little locker with some food and he let me have some. He would use his bike to ride to different areas because it was so big and I was thinking that would be a fun job. I wanted as a little boy to be just like him, After dad died and I was only 16 Val Robinson and Norm came to the house and told me that after I turn 18 that if I really wanted to work there to give them a call, So after I graduated from High school I called them and they lined me up. The following Monday after I graduated from high school I headed to Las Vegas I actually
lived in our old house. I went out and worked there for a year. I have a lot of good memories of my dad that we had a lot of fun.
We went to Disneyland, seems like we went every other year. And I remember one the first times we went he wanted to take us on the Pirates of the Caribbean I remember Darla and I both saying we didn’t want to go, as kids do we moaned and groaned and griped, but we got on that ride. How much fun and exciting it was. It was the only ride we wanted to ride after that. That’s one of my favorite rides at Disneyland because of that, I think it was his too. Every time I take my kids to Disneyland I take them to it, just to be the way he was.
There a lot of memories of my childhood. I had a good childhood I believe.
I was on the ninth grade baseball team. I was playing at JD Smith, he watched a lot of games, but one particular game the two teams started to get into a fight and I backed off and didn’t get into it.Afterwards I wanted to I let my dad know I was like a man and I asked him, “Did you see me in that big fight there?” He said, “You didn’t get into that, you backed off like you should of.” And so he was proud of me.
There are a lot of memories at the church ball fields. Dad and mom would get there lawn chairs and watch us play anytime they could. So that’s what I’m trying to do with my kids, anytime they have games I try to be like him and go to the games to support them and let them know I love them.
Duane Leslie Thurston
Remembrances of Verland
I remember when Verland was dating Dorothy. One night they were at the house together, and later they went outside around the side of the house. I followed them out without them knowing it, and I hid behind some bushes and saw them kiss. I was shocked. I was only about 8 or 9 years old. Then I just left quietly without them knowing it.
In my memory I remember that Verland liked cars. To me at that time, he always seemed to have a nice car. They had pipes on them, and he liked to drag Main Street, especially in front of our house when he and Dot went together.
I went to Dot’s and Verland’s wedding, but I don’t remember much about it.
One year Verland went hunting with a group that included me up at Bunkerville Mountain. I was young. I think that it was the first year that I had a license. He stayed with me while we hunted, and after a while we saw two deer. I ended up shooting a deer that took three of us to pack out. (Tom, Verland, and I)
At another time Verland gave me a shotgun for a gift. It was when I was a teenager. It was a 4-10 shotgun. It always seemed such a special thing that he did that for me.
I always thought that I was good in arm wrestling. One day at Dad and Mom’s I arm-wrestled Verland. The first round, Verland took me down so fast that I didn’t know what happened. I got him to try again, and this time I was ready for him. He was awful strong right off the bat, and if I could hold him for a few seconds, I knew that I would have a chance. I finally ended up beating him, but it took about a minute, and it was so hard. He was awfully strong.
Klint and Gail Frehner
Verland and Dot were always so good to us when we were dating and after we were married. They let us stay at their home when we came to Las Vegas. Verland let us borrow a car that they had when we lived a couple of streets from them after we married. It was a Renault, we think.
We loved to go to the movies with them. We saw several of the Trinity movies with them. They were so much fun to be with. We would go out for ice cream afterwards.
Klint and Verland would always be partners against Dot and I when we played Rook. They would always ultimately take “All Church”. They would always be behind, and yet they would come up and win. Verland would just smile that big smile because he would know how irritated Dot and I were at their winning.
Klint and I would go to barbecues in Dot’s and Verland’s backyard. Verland would be the chef. He made a mean hamburger. He always seemed to like to be the chef.
Verland worked at Blue Diamond. He was responsible for Klint getting a job at Blue Diamond also. Klint said that he would ride a bike when he was on the job there to get from one area to another. Everyone seemed to like Verland. He was very good to work for.
We remember Verland in his cars. Klint remembers that there was a blue and white Ford before he was married. After we were married there was his Renault, his Volkswagon, and his little Toyota pickup.
He would love to go see his boys and girls play in the Church sports.
One time I was worrying about what I was going to get our two kids (at that time) for Christmas. Verland asked me what I was going to get them, and I said that I didn’t know yet. I told him that I was really concerned about it. He threw his head back and laughed and said what does it matter? They will only play with the boxes and the wrappings anyway like all little kids do.
Verland was certainly the strong silent type. He was always so proud of Dot and his kids.
We were playing cards with Verland and Dot the night before he died. We had such a good time. We hold the memory of that last night that we spent with him as a very special time.
We certainly love and miss Verland. He was one special person.