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Obituary: Peter B. Thurman ’44

Peter B. Thurman, 90, died in his sleep March 20, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife and best friend, Lorene, as well as his parents, Allen G and Janet Davis Thurman, his sister, Esther and his brother, Allen.

Peter was born August 30, 1920 in Oskaloosa, Iowa and moved to Cedar Rapids in his youth. He graduated from Franklin High School. He attended Antioch College and graduated from the University of Iowa. Peter joined the navy and served in the Pacific during World War II. He returned in 1943 to become the business manager and later president of Federal Hybrid Seed Corn Company, started by his father in 1932.

Peter married Lorene Harrington on July 1, 1971. Peter and Lorene enjoyed their numerous nieces and nephews. Survivors include: Janet (Hebert) Obando of Anamosa, IA, Melissa (Dennis) Rucker of Algona, IA, Melinda (Al) Vance of West Plains, MO, William (Christine) Drago of Stoughton,WI, Robin (Felix) Vasquez of Bakersfield, CA, Elizabeth (Ed) Anderson of Concord, IL, Bruce (Connie Franey) Chapman of Washington, MO, Pamela (Phillip) Harrison of Jacksonville, IL, Becky Mills of CA, Robert (Diana) Mills of Eldora, CA. and Vicki (Doug) Mahr of Orangevale, CA.

Peter continued farming and managing Federal Hybrids until age 80. He enjoyed everything about corn and was a strong advocate for small farmers. Peter and Lorene loved to travel and visited over 35 countries in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. He was also a tremendous reader and was a familiar patron of Barnes & Noble, as well as the Marion and Iowa City libraries.

Peter was a member of the Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist since 1930. An active Democrat, he ran for State Representative for Jones & Linn counties in 1994. He was a committed member of Toastmasters, United Nations, the Marion Chamber of Commerce, the downtown Cedar Rapids Kiwanis and a faithful volunteer for the Marion Historical Society. Peter hoped “the United States can get better acquainted with the rest of the world, and that we can work with Europe to make the world a better place for all of us.”

His nieces, nephews and friends across Iowa and the United States will miss his chuckle and positive spirit.

The family would like to thank the staff of Summit Pointe Senior Living, Iowa Hospice, Gentiva Health Services and Riders Club of America for their care and attentiveness. The memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2:00 p.m. at the Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist (600 3rd Avenue, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402). In lieu of flowers, please send a donation for the crisis in Japan to an organization of your choice or a memorial fund has also been established at the church.