SOUTHWEST HARBOR - Leslie William Thurston, 93, died November 16, 2014 at an MDI hospital. He was born August 25, 1921 the son of Elfrieda (Brown) and Fred Victor Thurston.
He had many stories to tell of his early childhood in Bass Harbor (McKinley) Maine. He graduated from Pemetic High School in the Class of 1940 where he enjoyed playing basketball, baseball, drumming and singing/dancing in the school plays. He went on to graduate from communications school in Connecticut. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, in his field of communications, as a proud member of the 132nd Gun Battalion.
He married Geraldine Hodgkins in 1946 and they had two daughters and cared for Geraldine's sister, (who he called his 3rd daughter) before Geraldine's death. In 1961, he married Marie Isabelle Meyer Gray. He adopted her daughter (his 4th daughter) and together they had a son before her death in 1971. He married Mildred Sherman Young in 1976 and welcomed Millie and his (5th daughter) into his family. Millie has been his wonderful, loving partner for 38 years.
When he returned home, after the war, Les worked in Jackson's IGA Market. He was lured away from there by one of the owners of Manset Marine Supply Company. Les's career with Manset Marine lasted for 46 years where he moved from working behind the counter to selling from behind the wheel of one of his many green LTD wagons. He retired at the age of 72, (for awhile). He worked part time at Sterling Net and Twine until he finally left the workforce at 79.
He was a member of the American Legion, a past Master of the Masons and a member of the Causeway Club. He was honored as a Knight of the Road for driving over a million miles. He was active in community activities and the Republican Party. He was a member of the Congregational Church on High Road.
The above are the statistics of Les's life which he lived to the fullest. He was a major presence in Southwest Harbor during his life. His indomitable spirit saw him through the deaths of his first two wives and raising his children with so much love. In the statistics you miss the essence of the man. Les greeted all with a smile or a wave or a handshake. When asked how he was he would usually say "finest kind" or "I am great" or just, "Great!" When driving he told his children, "Wave to everyone" which showed to them his love of all people.
Les enjoyed family and community. He was always available to help when asked whether it was building a camp, helping an ailing friend or being a camp counselor. He was instrumental in organizing the 25th reunion of his HS class, the Pemetic Alumni Reunions, as well as, the yearly reunions of his battalion. An avid school basketball fan he attended every game he could at PHS and, once retired, rarely missed a game of the MDIHS team. Les loved to golf and was a member of the Causeway Club where he played until he was 90, winning a few championships, here and there, and getting a hole in one at 78.
To many he was known as, "Honest Les from Southwest". Like his father before him, "Fred from Bass Harbor Head", he loved to play with words. The rest of his limerick goes, "All the boys they lie like hell, but Honest Les the truth will tell."
To his 6 children, Eleanor Rebecca (Hodgkins) Carlson, Kathleen (Thurston) Thurnau, Paula Joyce (Thurston) Dunbar, Susan Elizabeth (Thurston) Douglas, Leslie William Thurston II and Crystal Marie (Young) Bourque, and their respective spouses, Bruce, Bill, Guy, Garielle Lecesne and Joe, he is known as Daddy, Dad, Daddy-0 or Les. To his Grandchildren, William Leslie Thumau, Kirstie (Dunbar) Kari, Hollie (Dunbar) Sawyer, Gretchen (Thurnau) Neimann, Lucas John Dunbar, Brennan Sasso Spofford, Peter Theodore Benson V, Marie (Benson) Connell, Maxine Benson, Nicholas Bourque and Kimberly Bourque, and spouses, Dave, Dave, Budd, and Chris, he is called Les, Grandfather, Favs, Grampie and Grandfadoo; is also loved by his great-grandchildren -Beau and Jaqueline Neimann, Jack and Leo Kari, Joshua Sawyer and Jolene Williams, Caleb Thurnau, Mallory, Phoebe and Cassidy Dunbar and Liam and Garrett Connell. His loving sister, Pauline Thurston McEachern having been predeceased by his older sisters, Louise Richardson and Eva Reed. Their children and grandchildren loved "Uncle Les", as well, including a special nephew namesake, Leslie William McEachern.
Les's family asks that in lieu of flowers people remember him, fondly, share stories with each other and give to a charity of their choice. A Celebration of Life for Leslie William Thurston will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 at the Southwest Harbor Congregation Church, High Road, Southwest Harbor. Interment will be at Mt. Height Cemetery, Southwest Harbor. Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mt. Dessert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com