William I. Thurman biography

Mr. William I. Thurman was born January 9, 1925 in Blackstone, Arkansas. William was the son of Eugene & Emma Thurman. He was the fourth of five siblings. William had three sisters and one brother; Panellapy, Janetta, Barbara, and Jasper.

William Thurman accepted Christ, as his savior, at an early age. He soon grew up to meet and marry Magnolia Snell on January 23, 1947. To this union, nine children were born, four daughters and five sons. Later in life, he and his wife were blessed with thirty-one grandchildren, sixty-one great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.

When William was 33 years old, he packed up his family and moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He worked for Pioneer Paper and Riley Company for many years. He would later be hired by the Upjohn Company in 1965. He continued to work there for twenty-five years, before he retired in 1990.

Mr. Thurman cherished spending time with his beautiful family. Over the years, he and his wife opened their home to more than 30 foster children in Kalamazoo. They enjoyed family outings, gardening, hunting, and softball. When time allowed, William would engage in his favorite passion, fishing. Every year he looked forward to attending the city’s Memorial Day Parade with his family.

He had a simple passion for singing, volunteering several hours of his week singing in the male choir of his church home, Galilee Baptist Church. He faithfully attended this same church until his death, on March 15, 1990.

Mr. William Thurman was a devoted son, husband, and father. He was a loyal and honest friend to all that he met in his lifetime. Owner of an intelligent mind, a gentle soul, and a generous heart, he embraced life with a tremendous commitment to faith, family, honor, and community.

William I. Thurman made the most out of life and everything it had to offer. Premier Athletics for Youth Development was inspired by his legacy.