Betty Dunbar Thurston

Oct 31, 1933 - Mar 1, 2017

Betty's Story

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Penobscot - Betty Dunbar Thurston passed away on March 1, 2017. She was born October 31, 1933 in Penobscot, Maine, daughter of Frank and Kathleen (Leach) Dunbar. Betty graduated from Bucksport High School in 1951 and received her RN Certification from New England Deaconess Hospital in 1954. She worked at Eastern Maine Medical Center and Bar Harbor Hospital before
going to Cordova, Alaska in 1955 to join the nursing staff at a missionary hospital. After one year she returned to Bar Harbor Hospital where she resumed her job as Operating Room Nurse.
In 1957 Betty married and joined her husband, Robert, who was serving in the Air Force in Tripoli, Libya. In 1960 her family moved to Harlingen, Texas, where she worked at the Valley Baptist Medical Center before moving to Waco, Texas. From 1964 to 1968 she was employed by the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. In 1972, while living in South Korea, Betty worked closely with the Holt Orphanage Agency nursing infants to health in her home until they were strong enough to be flown to the United States for adoption.
When her husband retired in 1974, Betty resumed her nursing career at the Bucksport Regional Health Center. She also worked for Dr. Bill Davis in Orland and later at Eastern Maine Medical Center. She was both a volunteer with the Bucksport ambulance response team and with the Hospice Program. In 1990 Betty and her husband joined the Peace Corps serving 27 months in Paraguay, S.A. where she trained a Paraguayan nurse to assist her in providing medical care to families in a remote village. Returning to Bucksport in 1992, Betty worked at Blue Hill Hospital and the Down East Home Health Care Agency until her retirement in 1994.
Betty enjoyed living and traveling in foreign countries. She considered it a great privilege to be able to learn about other cultures and experience the natural beauty of the world around her. Her favorite activities were hiking, canoeing and kayaking during the summers in Maine and exploring warmer destinations in the winter.
Betty was predeceased by her parents, Frank and Kathleen Dunbar; a daughter, Tamara Thurston; and a grandson, Peyton Webster. Surviving are her husband, Robert Thurston of Penobscot, ME; daughters Tracy Thurston and partner John Grimaldi of Surry, ME; Tenley Mossing and partner Darrell Porter of Swanville, ME; Tiffany Webster and partner Eric Hann of Bucksport, ME; brother, Frank Dunbar and wife Jackie of Bucksport, ME; and sister, Donna Hoffmann and husband Robert of Orland, ME. Surviving grandchildren are Robert Carmichael and wife, Betsy; Brendan Carrier and wife, Courtney; Christy Pugsley and husband, Dan; Kaitlyn Murphy and husband, Chris; Leah Billings and fiancé, Chris; Lucy Webster; and Will Mossing. Also surviving are 13 great grandchildren.
Betty will be fondly remembered for her love of life, personal integrity, compassion for family and friends and her willingness to help those in need without regard for personal gain.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Orland United Methodist Church in May on a date to be announced later. Donations may be made in Betty's memory to: Orland United Methodist Church, PO Box 81, Orland, ME 04472 or to Hancock County HomeCare & Hospice, PO Box 655, Ellsworth, ME 04605.
Published on  March 4, 2017
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