Lucille Inez Willis Thurman

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Lucille Inez Willis ThurmanMy great-grandmother, Lucille Inez Willis Thurman, passed away on February 19, 2006. Because she was my longest-lived great-grandparent, I have more memories of her than any of my other great-grandparents.

Lucille Inez Willis was born on March 19, 1914 to Grover Cleveland Willis and Melvina Meeks Willis in Marietta, Love County, Oklahoma. Her father was born in Belgreen, Franklin County Alabama in 1886, and her mother was born in Oklahoma in 1887, when it was still Indian Territory. There is a possiblity that Melvina Meeks has Native American ancestry through her Graham family, but it is not certain. I am not sure when Grover Cleveland Willis left Alabama for Oklahoma, but he was certainly there by 1905 when he married Melvina Meeks. Grover Cleveland Willis and Melvina Meeks were the parents of Myrtle Willis Vinson, Joseph Clinton Willis, Clarence O. Willis, Addie Willis Watkins, Lucille Inez Willis Thurman, and twins Willard Olen Willis and Wilma Willis McFadden. This is a picture of Grover Cleveland Willis and Melvina Meeks Willis:

Grover Cleveland Willis and Melvina Meeks Willis

I’m not sure when the photo was taken, but I estimate it was some time in the 1940’s.

Granny married Elmer Theodore Thurman (Ted) in Madill, Marshall County, Oklahoma on September 29, 1929. They had the following children: Doris LaNell Thurman Cunningham, Willis Floyd Thurman, Billy Loid Thurman, twins Minnie Lou (Penny) Thurman Paul and Winnie Sue Thurman Bolding, and Lynn Doyle Thurman. This is a picture of the Thurman family, taken between 1946 and 1948:

Thurman Family

From left to right, bottom row: Lynn Doyle, Doris, Ted, Lucille, Willis; top row: Winnie, Penny, and Billy.

When I was little, Granny and Grandpa Thurman lived in Amarillo, Texas. For a while when I was a teenager, they lived in Indio, California. Toward the end of their lives, they lived in Carlsbad, Texas, next door to their daughter Winnie and son-in-law Arvel Bolding. I can’t recall exactly when, but I think they lived in Ardmore, Oklahoma for a time when I was a child. I remember visiting the Ardmore area when I was a child. We visited Granny’s sister Myrtle Vinson, who has us help her shell peas. I also remember visiting the Little Brownie Bakers, who make Girl Scout Cookies. They are located in Marietta, Oklahoma. I remember Granny taking us to this bakery, raving about their great cookies. She didn’t realize they were Girl Scout Cookies. I am not sure if Little Brownie Bakers still sells directly to the public.

When Granny lived in Indio, she had a chicken that used to come into the house. I think she fed it cat food or dog food.

One of the things I will always remember about Granny is that she had more refrigerator magnets than anyone else I knew. Her refrigerator was covered with them. Most of them looked like food. I remember one in particular looked like a chocolate chip cookie; that one was my favorite. She used to let me play with the magnets when I came to visit her. She always had Dr. Pepper in bottles in her fridge, and she never failed to ask, “Do you want a Dr. Pepper, Sugie?” whenever I came to visit.

Granny also used to put out hummingbird feeders; she always had a lot of hummingbirds to watch outside her window.

When Granny lived in Carlsbad, her home was on a dirt road out in the country. Arvel Bolding had some goats that used to crop the grass, and one of them was named Lucille for Granny. There were a lot of mesquite trees and prickly pear cacti around her home.

I vividly remember going to Granny and Grandpa Thurman’s 50th anniversary party in 1979. My mother’s cousins were all there. I was eating nuts from a tray, and my mother’s cousin Billy Thurman (son of Billy Loid Thurman) told me that I couldn’t have any more because I was eating too many. I was so surprised when my grandfather’s parents, Herman and Annie Jennings Cunningham came to the party. It didn’t occur to me that my grandparents’ parents knew each other.

I was not able to go to Granny and Grandpa Thurman’s 60th anniversary party, but my mother went. I did go to their 65th anniversary in 1994. My daughter Sarah was just a baby. We had a nice family reunion with some great mesquite barbecue, and I remember Grandpa Thurman was thrilled to have his first great-great grandchild in attendance.

I also went to their 70th wedding anniversary party. There were quite a few more great-great grandchildren in 1999! Granny’s obituary stated that she had 21 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great grandchildren.

Granny was very funny. She liked jokes and had a great sense of humor. Mom recalls that she like wrestling and used to go to matches. She read wrestling magazines when I was little.

Granny always seemed so spry to me. She was one of the toughest people I knew, and I know she hasn’t had an easy life. Grandpa Thurman died in 2003. After Grandpa died, Granny developed leukemia. She fought it for some time, but finally, she told her family that she was tired and ready to go see Ted.

Note: This post is Part 3 in a series on grandparents and other relatives I remember personally in my lifetime.

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13 thoughts on “Lucille Inez Willis Thurman”

  1. Dana – I really enjoyed your post. Winnie Thurman Bolding was my aunt by marriage. Arvel Bolding is my mother’s younger brother. Winnie and Arvel’s daughter, Bettye, is named for my mother. Unfortunately my mother passed away some time ago and I have lost track of much of the family. I know Arvel is still in Carlsbad as is his sister and at least one of his sons. You’ve inspired me to reach out and try to reconnect. Thanks again for the wonderful post and great website. I look forward to browsing the rest. Regards – Mike

  2. Dana,

    I enjoyed reading about your “family history” web page. I found it to be very enlightening and also found myself reminiscing about the good old days with granny and grandpa I miss them very much they were always a big part of our lives growing up and when they moved to California I was so hurt I just thought they would live in Texas forever. I am the fifth child of Arvel and Winnie (Thurman) Bolding (Bettye). After reading the one part about being born on ones birthday I thought you may enjoy knowing my grandson was born on Aunt Doris’s birthday Sept. 5th he is now five and was the first great grandchild for my parents and I believe him to be blessed because my mom held her first great-grandbaby just days before she passed away my mom lived for her kids and grandchildren she is truly missed.

    Thanks again for such an awesome web page!

    Sincerely,

    Bettye

  3. Dana,
    I am the oldest grandson of Winnie and Arvel Bolding , found this site to be very interesting because I hadn’t been that close to my fathers side of the family like I had hoped to be. Thank you for the information and background on great granny and great grandpa, had fun remembering what time I did spend with them.

    David Kip Bolding

  4. Dana,

    Do you know any one in your family tree that could be related that would have been tl thurman? I am looking for my grandfather which this is the only name I know. My father was adopted and all I know is his name and his may have been from either madill area or the possibly the ft. cobb poteau area?

  5. Dana, I only got to meet my grand parents once and my dad twice. I’ve always been curious about this side of the family. I’ve had people ask me if I was related to this Thurman or that one and always had to reply I don’t know. Not sure that I will take this any further, but at least I have an idea about some of my Thurman ancestry.

    Thanks!

    1. Lynn D. Thurman Jr.
      I enjoy reading these posts and connecting or reconnecting with family and distant family. I am the sixth child of Arvel and Winnie (Thurman) Bolding. My Mother is Lynn Doyle’s sister. I have always known Lynn Doyle as “Uncle Jack” which gets confusing at times because my brother Jackie Bolding (2nd oldest of us six kids) is now called “Jack” (or Uncle Jack to his neices and nephews). Every time I see Lynn Doyle (Uncle Jack) he always tells me how much I look like my Mother. We lost my Mom in 2001 to breast cancer. Feel free to contact me any time.

      Denise (Bolding) Stone

  6. Wow I am so impressed. Very nicely done cousin. I am a descendant via Andrew Jackson Willis,who was your Grover Cleveland Willis big brother. Andrews daughter Sallie Maud Willis Kirby thru Dartha Kirby Dewitt thru Floyd Bufford Dewitt.

  7. Hi
    I was searching for my grandmother and found your posting. Thank you!
    My grandmother was Myrtle Willis Vinson, married to Charlie Vinson. She lived on Vinson Road, Lebanon, OK as far as I can remember. She shared her birth experiences with me following the death of my baby girl in 1977. Evidently, she also lost a son at birth.
    I often visited Aunt Addie up the road a ways, and her only daughter Peggy. Aunt Addie looked exactly like the picture of your grandmother you posted, and the house looked the same. Her husband was a watermelon farmer. Yum!
    My mother was the youngest girl of Myrle and Charlie Vinson. Opal Estilene died in 1960 when I was 9. I have 1 brother, Charles (Charlie) Lee Mott. He lives in Houston. Our sister died in 1971.
    My dad, Robert A Mott married my mother when she was 15 in Pampa, TX. He was 21. I was born in Elk City in 1951 while he served in the Korean conflict. He lives in Caldwell, TX.
    I visited the Thurmans, also. The boys let us swing on ropes in the dairy barn hay loft. Phyliss was his daughter. We had sleep overs when I stayed with my grand parents. I believe her mother was deaf.
    Nice to reminiscence! I live in Tulsa, OK now. My daughter Rebekah Peddy lives here. Her brother Rion Peddy, DC is in Monroe, MI. Roderick Peddy, DC lives in College Station, TX and my oldest son Robert Peddy lives in Caldwell, TX.
    Again, thanks for sharing!
    Rhonda Mott Tomasi

    1. Rhonda, so wonderful to hear from you! I remember Aunt Myrtle very well. We visited her when we went to Granny’s. She had us shell peas. Put us right to work! I remember Wilma and Willard as well. I believe I remember Aunt Addie, too, and certainly, I have heard much about her growing up. I will tell my grandmother I heard from you. She will remember your mother, I am certain.

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