Joseph N. Thurston

Joseph N. Thurston

Joseph Norman Thurston, age 91, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 11:35 p.m. on January 8, 2019, at Hawkeye Care Center, surrounded by his loving family. To honor Joe’s life, funeral services will be held at 11:30am, on Saturday, January, 12, 2019, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, Dubuque, with Deacon John Stierman officiating. To celebrate Joe’s life, family and friends may visit from 9:30am until the time of services at 11:30am, on Saturday at Behr Funeral Home. Military rites will be accorded by the Dubuque Marine Corps League. Entombment will be in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum at a later date.

Joe was born on November 19, 1927, in Dubuque, IA, son of Joseph E. And Florence C. (Cherrier) Thurston.

Joe served with the US Army during World War II on a Hospital Ship in the European Theater of Operations. He married Elizabeth J. Hennig on Sept. 2, 1950 at St. Mary’s Church. She proceeded him in death on Sept. 16, 1994. He later married Elaine M. (Baker) Meyer on Nov. 6, 2005 at St. Mary’s Church in Dubuque. Joe was formerly employed at the Battery Factory, at Carr, Adams and Collier Mfg. and lastly at the John Deere Dubuque Works, retiring in 1987. He had been a union member since he was 15 years old and was a member of UAW Local #94. Joe was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Parish and was an usher at church since 1949. He was past Chief Ranger of the Holy Ghost Catholic Order of Foresters, past Secretary of the Holy Name Society and was the Institutional Representative for the Boy Scouts in Dubuque. Joe was also a member of the Holy Cross Order of Foresters and a past Vice President of the Dubuque County Conservation Society. He was very active in sports and was a softball player for many years, but because of his height, he was often recruited to play basketball. While playing for the Army team Joe was fortunate enough to have played once against the Harlem Globetrotters. He and Elaine enjoyed traveling to Alaska, going to see the Panama Canal and exploring the Northeastern states and New England. Joe loved being outdoors and enjoyed pheasant hunting and was an avid trout fisherman. He was very proud of the fact that he helped to re-stock the wild turkey population in Iowa for the first time.

Those left to cherish Joe’s memory include

his wife,
Elaine Thurston, of Dubuque;

his daughter and step-children,
Joyanne (John) Oberhausen, Dubuque, IA,
Kathy (Rod) Miller, Hampshire, IL,
Jim “Congo” (Sharla) Meyer, Dubuque, IA,
Barb (Steve) Jaeger, Dubuque, IA,
Joe (Vicki) Meyer, Dubuque, IA,
Julie (Dave) Hillery, Dubuque, IA,
Jill Meyer, Sun Prairie, WI,
and Amy (Bob) Buss, Arlington, WI;

his 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Elizabeth; his brother, Eugene; and his sister-in-law, Marian Zaruba.

Joe’s family would like to thank the entire staff at Hawkeye Care Center for their kind, compassionate and professional care of Joe.

Memorials will be accepted by the family to be distributed among his favorite charities.

View local florists here.


Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main St., Dubuque, IA 52001
January 12th, 2019 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Funeral Service

Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main St., Dubuque, IA 52001
January 12th, 2019 at 11:30 AM

One condolence for Joseph N. Thurston
  1. Jane Melssen Jackson says:

    Dear Joy, and family, I am sorry I missed Joe’s funeral, I was just thinking about you Joy and your dad the other day. I always enjoyed going to your house as a little girl, listening to you play the piano and your dad sitting reading the paper. He was always so funny. You and your family were lucky to have him this long, as I lost my parents when they were in their 60’s. I will pray for you during this time. I know he will be missed as he was loved by you Joy. Thoughts and prayers.

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