Rev Thurmon Eugene King
|James Duffield King (1900-1966)
|Grace Mabel Sackett (1910-1996)
Thurmon King was a founder member of the Sackett Family Association, attending the inaugural gathering in Salt Lake City in 2003. He had been involved with others since the late 1990s with the Sackett mailing list and had already accumulated a large database of Sackett genealogy. In recognition of this, he was asked to take on the role of Association Historian, with a focus on the American lines. He continued this work until "retiring" in 2015 when he handed over the database to Ted Smith. Thurmon served on the Sackett Family Association Committee from its founding in 2003, was President from 2005 to 2007, and continued as an active researcher until 2019.
Thurmon E. King
30 July 1930 - 30 December 2022
Survived by his wife Sylvia (of 72 years), 4 daughters and spouses, 2 sons and spouses, 12 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren.
Thurmon was born in Oklahoma, then moved to Yuma AZ in 1940 where he graduated from Yuma High in 1950. He then attended Arizona Bible College. For 30 years he was the pastor of several small churches in Nevada, California, and Washington. One of Thurmon's nephews said that "Uncle Thurmon was the one I most respected. He revealed Jesus to me, and I knew I needed to know the Jesus he revealed."
Since the churches he served couldn't provide a full salary, Thurmon took on additional jobs to support his family. He was a skilled metal worker and two of his projects were on lift gates on dams in Washington. His last major job was making the guides for the cable bridge built across the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick. When he retired from active pastoral ministry he had a trucking business until he retired in 1995. Thurmon used to say that he didn't leave the ministry, but rather, he "took it on the road."
A teacher with a love of history, Thurmon began researching his ancestry as a direct descendant of Simon Sackett, who came to America in 1630. He was one of the original founders of the Sackett Family Association and served as the historian until 2019. He helped many find and document their ancestry plus teaching how to do the research.
He was an amazing person, a wonderful husband and father. We miss him.
—Sylvia King, Feb 2023
I breathed my first breath on July 30, 1930 in a little farm house near Marietta, OK. My first memories are from age 2½ years. Between then and our move to Yuma, AZ in 1941 we lived in 9 other places.
From the year I started school through the 4th grade I had repeated one grade, missed 1½ years of school and changed schools 7 times and occasionally made the honor roll.
In high school I majored in agriculture, was a member of the FFA and the Yuma Criminals football team. During my junior year I became a Christian and met the girl I married 4 days after we graduated from high school. I felt called to the ministry during my senior year and my education plans changed. Beyond high school: Arizona Bible Institute in Phoenix, AZ, 1 year; Western Baptist College, Salem, OR, 2½ years; and extension courses from Fuller Theological Seminary.
I was a "jack of all trades" working as a heavy equipment operator, mechanic, welder, farm hand, hard rock miner, "powder monkey" (high explosives), and truck driver. Most of my work from 1956 to 1974 was "bi-vocational." I worked in secular employment while serving 17½ years as pastor of 5 different churches in NV, CA, and WA. I owned and operated a long haul truck 1977-1994.
In 54 years of marriage Sylvia and I have lived in 34 different places in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. And were successful as parents of 2 boys and 4 girls.
—Thurmon King, The Sackett Family Association Newsletter, Apr 2004
Liesa Robarge #2 —
"For those that didn't have a chance to meet Thurmon in person there is no way to explain the person he was, but he had some great stories he shared with us all in our newsletters. I think we called them "stories from our childhood". i know they are still out there so if you haven't had a chance yet to check them out you should."
[These were Thurmon's Tales From My Childhood. See Newsletter Index.]
Chris Sackett #4 —
"Thurmon was a regular attendee at Sackett family reunions, endearing himself to all who met him there. Other family members could only wonder at his apparent photographic memory of names, dates and places of multiple branches of the family. Genealogical questions were answered with an amused smile, as was a more personal question about his reasons for retiring early from the ministry. His self-deprecating reply, "I wasn't a good minister", was accompanied by a knowing chuckle at the ambiguity of his answer: did he mean the quality of his ministry or his qualities as a man? There was no need for a follow-up question. We all had already formed our opinions of this good and remarkable man."
Darlene Sackett #6 —
"I have been working with Thurmon since before we started the association. He was a wealth of knowledge and a wise leader. I will miss his wisdom, kindness and Christian heart."
Patty Sackett Chrisman #7 —
"Sad to hear of Thurmon. I was happy to have met him in Westfield. A very courtly and gentle man."
Jill Jessen Hernandez #8 —
"I was soooo hoping, for these many years, as founding members that one day Thurmon and I would yell out! We connected Jill’s Elizabeth SACKETT married to IRS Howe to her Family! I know that Thurmon will be watching all of us. Hey! He just might whisper to me ! She’s been right there all this time! Then tell me where to connect her. Love you my friend."
Wendy Sacket #10 —
"I have wonderful memories of meeting Thurmon and his wife Sylvia at the first Sackett family reunion in Salt Lake City. His research efforts in compiling his database and his many acts of kindness to other researchers will not be forgotten."
Carroll M. Lawson #28 —
"Having corresponded with Thurmon since the 1990's about records at Yuma and our mutual Ancestors, it is with great sadness I hear this news. He was always gracious and a joy to correspond with. I will miss knowing he is in our world. My prayers are for solace for the family at this time."
Don Hertzler #45 —
"Glenna and I were fortunate to get to attend a number of the early Sackett Family Reunions starting with the second one. It was at those events we came to know and love Thurmon and Sylvia King. They were spiritual, loving, and caring people. The thing that stood out when talking to Thurmon was his ability to recall extensive genealogy data and make interconnections across a wide range of information. He may not have had a photographic mind but he certainly made you wonder if he didn’t. He loved to solve a puzzle or mystery – especially if it involved real people – past and present.
When he and Sylvia retired they purchased a rural 5-acre "farm" north of Pasco, WA – a town of about 80,000 at the junction of the famous Snake and Columbia rivers. The farm was located on an arid but fertile plain in south central Washington that was made productive by irrigation from the two rivers. They loved the rural life in their modern triple wide prefab home. At one reunion, Thurmon was muscled up. I asked him if he was lifting weights. He said he wasn’t in the traditional sense. The "flower" beds around their home had been filled with round river rocks by the previous owner. Thurmon and Sylvia wanted real flowers and vegetables in their gardens so Thurmon dug up the river rock, filled 12 five-gal plastic buckets with the rock, lifted them into the back of their Dodge SUV, and transported them to place at the edge of a road along a drainage canal. It took him seven loads of 12 buckets!!! He was in his 80’s. That gives you a measure of his work ethic.
When Thurmon started working on the Sackett Family database, he had only a land line with dialup internet. Remember the bzzzzzzz, "You’ve got mail!" response? When the connection was successful, it was VERY slow. It took a lot of patience to communicate this way. In later years he had access through a faster satellite connection.
When Sylvia developed mobility problems, they moved to a one story home in Pasco. Thurmon and their children helped remodel the home. The new home was closer to family and medical services. Sylvia still insisted on cooking the evening meal even though she required a wheelchair to get around.
In July of 2018 Thurmon gave a brief update of their situation on TSFA list. It had been several years since Glenna and I had seen him, so I sent him a private email to "catch up." He responded with a wonderful and extensive email. I will end by quoting him from a part of that thread."
From Thurmon's 2018 email
As you probably know, it becomes quite interesting when you discover that something was done incorrectly after quite a bit has been entered. Well, I had used 3 different genealogy programs before I got Legacy. And information entered into the other programs didn't always agree with one another and Legacy was no exception. Thankfully, I had other TSFA members who worked with me on the database and other projects. That really helped get things into a better format.
I was glad when Ted Smith volunteered to take over the Sackett Database. He immediately moved it to its present site and has done most of the work on it. The program he uses allows him to permit other researchers to edit and add their (ancestry) line as long as they follow the rules of the program he uses. And he has added plenty of individuals and information to the database. Ted is still finding things that need to be changed.
So, I am happy, and proud, of all the work that has been done in the Sackett family research since we started around the time TSFA was founded."
Ted Smith #55 —
"Thurmon is my late mother’s third cousin. Our nearest common ancestors are Samuel Sackett (1799-1856) and Julia Ann Heath (1810-1894).
After corresponding with Thurmon for several years, I finally was able to meet him in Fort Wayne at a TSFA gathering. He was very personable and quite willing to chat about family connections. Over the years, I occasionally flooded him out with contributions to the database that he was compiling. I think he did a yeoman’s job for TSFA in putting that database together as well as responding to questions and helping others research their own ancestral lines. In the years after taking on the task of importing his database to https://Sackett-tree.org and continuing his work, I have found very few errors.
In December 2019, my wife and I moved to Washington State, and I had intended to reconnect with Thurmon, but, alas, the pandemic made such visits unwise. I count that missed opportunity as a personal loss.
Having said that, his genealogical work lives on and, hopefully, will be a continuing springboard for new researchers!"
Kari Roehl #77 —
"I am so sad to hear the news about Thurmon. He is the first member of the Sackett family we had met albeit only over the internet.
My husband Steve and he were related but I do the genealogy in the family.
We corresponded multiple times and for a while I worked on helping him fill in some gaps. I really wanted to prove and supply the maiden names of the women who married into the Sackett line and we were successful to some extent on that.
He even called me his “assistant” for a while! We had tried to visit him twice when we were RVing but each time the fires kept us away.
He was a great family man. Always speaking of his wife and children as well as the ancestors. He did this family a huge service and personally I will be thankful for it forever.
My condolences to Sylvia and his family. We have lost a true gentleman and man of wisdom."
Rachel Stella #112 —
"I met Thurmon online in 2000 and had the pleasure of meeting he and his wife at the Fort Wayne, Indiana reunion which was held not far from my Indiana home.
Thurmon was not only a mentor to me in the research and completion of my family history, but he was even more so, a wonderful mentor in my Christian faith. I will miss him dearly.
I plan to print your comments and send them in a little booklet to Sylvia. I know she will appreciate each and every one."
John Howard Sackett #138 —
"I offer my condolences."
Danielle Otey #220 —
"Sad news and such a big loss for our family. Love to Thurmon's wife and children."
Kathy Philippi Stinson #291 —
"That is very sad news to hear. Thurmon was my double cousin from the Sackett/Smith line. May he rest in peace."
Kelly Mercer #610 —
"I am saddened to read of the passing of Thurmon King. I am so very grateful to him for starting the on-line Sackett family group. I was able to verify the info my grandfather had given me as well as add to it.
My sympathies to Thurmon’s family."
Marty Price #676 —
"I am sorry to hear of Thurmon's passing. My brother, Richard Price, who passed away in August 2021, received a lot of help from Thurmon when he was researching our Sackett lineage which will always be appreciated by our family. It is good to know that Thurmon was able to live such a long life up to 92 years."
Notes & Citations
- Thurmon King's database.
|10th great-grandson of Thomas Sackett the elder of St Peter in Thanet
|Line 3a (American)
|25 Feb 2023