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Virginia Ida Thurmond

1936 -
Virginia Ida Thurmond Obituary
Our beloved mother, sister, wife, grandmother and friend, Virginia Ida Thurmond, went to be with her husband, family and the Lord Feb. 25, 2012. She was a grandmother to many and friend to all. She was often heard saying, "They were my best friend."
Virginia was born to the late Andrew and Hilda Johnson, June 21, 1936, in Koyukuk. She was raised in traditional Koyukon Athabascan lifestyle at Two Mile and Eagle Island camps on the Yukon River.
Virginia had fond memories of attending Our Lady of the Snow Catholic Mission School in Nulato, up to the eighth grade. She credits the many positive influences of her early years to the Catholic sisters who taught her how to sew and cook and most importantly her faith. Her grandma, Andrew Johnson's mother, also was an influence who taught her traditional Native values and history.
She met the love of her life, Archie Thurmond, at Eagle Island and was married Aug. 5, 1955. Together, they lived a subsistence lifestyle. Their respect, love, and support of one another was apparent throughout their 47 years of matrimony. They complemented one another in every aspect of their lives. They both loved outdoor hunting, fishing, and would not be seen traveling without one another.
Her loves were knitting, crocheting, and putting away fish, moose and berries. Her ability to create tasteful recipes out of very little was one of her special qualities. She never used a measuring cup or spoon, instead it was a dash of this or a handful of that.
Music to their family was a bond that was shared by many generations. Like her husband, Virginia looked forward each year to participating in the annual Athabascan Fiddle Festival. Her tambourine skills were noted worldwide (humor).
Family times together were special to Virginia. Between Archie and herself they would be hunting, camping, swimming and picnicking together while raising 10 children.
She supported her husband's business, Yuki Lumber Company. The family's home was open to many extended family and friends through the years. Many of Virginia's younger siblings lived with them. Oftentimes, high school boarding home students were welcomed to finish their education in Galena at the Thurmonds' home, and many people on their way to the Tanana Hospital would be welcomed guests.
For years, Virginia tolerated her husband's constant teasing with a soft smile knowing that she loved the attention and intent of her husband's love for her. After her husband's death, her children continued the teasing as a reminder of their father's love for their mother.
In addition, the love her children felt for her was apparent by their daily care for her well being. Her children never forgot to visit her daily, fish for salmon and white fish, hunt for moose and birds, take her berry picking, camping and most importantly, take her to visit her husband's final resting place in Blackburn from time to time.
Virginia had a lifelong faith in her traditions and the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially the blessed rosary. She truly believed that she had a purpose in life to her family and friends despite the sorrows that she bore. Like her husband, her grandchildren were precious and the light of her life. She was devoted in teaching them her faith, skills and zest for life.
Virginia was preceded in death by her husband, Archie Thurmond; children, Cynthia, Archie Jr., Charlene, and Stewart; family members, Betty/Floyd Green, Adele/Douglas Becker, Mathew Johnson, Edgar Johnson, Andrew Johnson Jr., Barney Johnson, Oliver Johnson and Fred Sommer Sr.
She leaves behind her children and their families, Josephine (Jimmy) Malemute, Marvin (Sylvia) Thurmond, Edward Sr., (Kate) Thurmond, Marlene (Victor) Marshall, Darryl (Rocky) Thurmond, and April Carlo; 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; sisters and brothers: Dorothy Sommer, Philomena Sommer, Sarah Johnson, Josephine Bonus, William Johnson, Michael Johnson, Maxie Johnson, the Becker family, and many, nephews, nieces and cousins.
Although her heart is with her family in Nulato and Galena, her final resting place is beside her husband, Archie at Blackburn.
Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 8, 2012
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