Cover photo for Judy Thurston's Obituary
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1944 Judy 2024

Judy Thurston

February 8, 1944 — February 11, 2024

Judy L Thurston, born February 8, 1944, in Longmont, Colorado, passed away on February 11, 2024, in Harlan, Iowa. A beloved “Nana” to four grandkids and nine great-grandkids, she was also known as “Aunt Missy” to many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. When she was six years old, their mother moved Judy and her three sisters from the farm in Berthoud, CO, to the town of Fair Oaks, CA. Judy began her first job polishing oranges for a grocer at the age of ten and began waitressing a year later. She worked nearly 35 years for the CA DMV before officially retiring in 2010–even though the term “side gig” probably started with her. She always had more than one job—whether it was cleaning rental units, working Bingo nights, or providing in-home care.

While living in Northern California most of her life, she hosted many weekend fish frys and taco nights, Thanksgiving night card games, “Name gift” Christmases, and Secret Pal dinners with this large family—her house was always the default gathering spot where there was always enough food to feed an army, and anyone could find a beverage of choice in the garage fridge. Her house was always offered first for hosting oversized garage sales, with items collected from family and friends and stored in the garage throughout the year.

When she wasn’t hosting the family at these events, Judy loved to travel with them as well. In the early years, there were summer camping trips up to Davis and Wright’s lakes. Later on, she made annual trips to Disneyland to “see the mouse” or used sports tournaments to schedule impromptu family reunions, especially after she and Dave moved to Iowa in 2011. The planning for the next trip usually started shortly after returning from the last one. When her heart began to fail this past Christmas, she knew she was just getting ready to see Grandma Hot Tea and Bonesy again on her next trip.

Those preceding her in death were her beloved mother, Verna Waggener of Sacramento, CA, and father, Dell Waggener of Martinez, CA; her sister Joanne and husband Dave Agee of Sacramento, CA; nephew Brian Agee of Sacramento, CA; and grandparents Peter and Elizabeth Nelson of Berthoud, CO.

Judy leaves behind her husband, Dave Thurston of Kimballton, IA, their children Diane (David) Thompson of Kimballton, IA, and Doug (Cindy) Thurston of Elk Horn, IA; her sisters Jeanne (Roy) Sorenson of Carmichael, CA and Jan (George) White of Rio Linda, CA; grandchildren Jodee (Arron) Dixon of Elk Horn, IA, Jared (Brittany) Thompson of Carmichael, CA, Tiffany (Randy) Halvorson of Grand Forks, ND, and Brandon (Patryce) Thurston of Roseville, CA; great-grands: Sky, Jaded, Cameron, Tyde, Benjamin, Emagin, Abigail, Ivy and Brooks; and all of the nieces and nephews back in California.

Memorial Service to be held Saturday, March 9th, 2024, beginning at 11 a.m. at Altamont Baptist Church in Harlan, IA with lunch to follow.

Schmidt Family Funeral Home of Atlantic, IA, is handling the arrangements.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judy Thurston, please visit our flower store.


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