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K. Keith Thurman

Obituary
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K Keith Thurman
Virginia Beach - K Keith Thurman died peacefully in his sleep on October 1, 2012, after a two month illness. He was 88 years old. He is predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Imogene Harman Thurman, and is survived by his wife of 66 days, Leasi Irvin Thurman. K lives in the hearts and minds of his son, James Amery Thurman; granddaughter, Amery Christina Thurman; grandson, Parker Jameson Thurman and his wife, Caroline Evans Thurman; grandson, Cole McKinley Thurman; great-granddaughter, Sophia Amery Thurman; daughters-by-marriage, Carolyn Epp McPhall, Darlene Koch McGinnis and Heather McClellan Nixon; sister, Jacquetta Thurman Watson and family; sister-in-law, Wilda Fletcher Harman and family; nieces, Judith Harman Downham and family, Janet Harman Shaeffer and family, Rebecca Bartlett Watson and family, Paula Bartlett Daniell and family, Noel Vincent and family, April Dawn Newman and family, and Brenda Thurman Ruloff and family; nephews, James Burch Bruhn and family, James Arthur Harman and family, Daryl Linn Bartlett and family, Robert Allen Thurman and Charles Keith Thurman; and his friends and extended family in West Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and elsewhere. K was born near Beckley, West Virginia, on July 27, 1924, to Amery Josiah Thurman and Vivian Hattie Parker, who predeceased him, as did his sister, Aileen Thurman Bartlett, his brother-in-law, O.D. Bartlett, and nieces, Sandra Harman Bruhn and Vivian Bartlett McLaughlin. K's parents were killed in an explosion in Stanaford, WV In 1932 and he was raised in Cedar Grove, WV, by his Uncle Homer, the mayor and town barber, and his Aunt Ethyl. He grew up with his cousin, Homer "Junior" Thurman, who was a brother-by-affinity and who predeceased him, as well. K graduated from East Bank High School at age 16 and enlisted in the US Navy in 1941. After Pearl Harbor, he entered the V5 program and became an officer and an aviator. He spent 1944 and 1945 in the Pacific flying a Kingfisher pontoon plane off the battleship, USS West Virginia. He participated in all the major naval campaigns beginning with Leyte Gulf, and was present in Tokyo Bay at the Japanese Surrender. He matriculated at West Virginia University in 1945 and met his wife, Gene, in the enrollment line. He graduated in 1948 and returned to the Navy on active duty until 1960, staying in the Reserves and retiring as a Commander. He graduated from Law School at WVU in 1963 and spent the next four years in the Kansas City Field Office of the Federal Trade Commission, transferring to Washington D.C. where he retired in 1981 as Senior Trial Attorney in the Merger Division. His final trial lasted ten months and resulted in the divestiture of Monroe Shock Absorbers by Tenneco, back in the day when monopolies were illegal. With President-Elect Ronald Reagan looming on the horizon, K relocated to Virginia Beach and joined his son in the general practice of law. He was General Counsel to the National Conference of Small AAA Clubs from 1982 to 1992. In the mid 1980's K won a substantial private anti-trust suit against Cox Communications on behalf of Resort Satellite Communications, and beginning in the 1990's became known as the textbook Guardian ad litem in Virginia Beach and Norfolk when he took the case of Unknown Father vs. Norfolk Department of Social Services all the way from Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of (literally) an unknown client. K retired in January, 2012, to devote more time to Tony's Hot Dogs and Al Azteca Restaurante. From 1988 up until his death, K remained an avid devotee to soccer especially when it was being played by his grandson, Parker. He became well-known in the soccer community, from Beach FC to Cox High School to VMI, for his devotion to the game and his knowledge of player talent, as well as for his low opinion of referees, particularly when they called Parker offsides. It was a long road, well-traveled, upon which K accomplished everything he desired. He connected with many and was well loved by all. A celebration of K's life will be held at Altmeyer Funeral Home-Maestas Chapel, 1801 Baltic Avenue, Virginia Beach, at 4 p.m. Friday, October 12, 2012, with a wake to follow at Murphy's Irish Pub. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to the K Keith Thurman Memorial Fund at Towne Bank, 2101 Parks Avenue 100, Virginia Beach VA 23451. A monument to K is planned for the Memorial Garden at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex.

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Published in The Virginian Pilot on Oct. 8, 2012
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