Imogene Harman Thurman
Virginia Beach – Imogene Harman Thurman died October 20, 2011, after nearly two decades of heroic refusal to succumb to Alzheimer’s disease. She lives on in the hearts and minds of her husband of 65 years, K Keith Thurman; her son, James Amery Thurman; granddaughter, Amery Christina Thurman; grandson, Parker Jameson Thurman, his wife, Caroline Evans Thurman; great-granddaughter, Sophia Amery Thurman; grandson, Cole McKinley Thurman; daughters-by-marriage, Carolyn Epp McPhaul, Darlene Koch McGinnis and Heather McClellan Nixon; her dear, loving care-givers, George and Edna Paulmino and family; sister-in-law, Wilda Fletcher Harman, Jacquetta Thurman Watson and family; brother-in-law, O.D. Bartlett and family; nieces, Janet Harman Shaeffer and family, and Judith Harman Downham and family, nephews, James Burch Bruhn and family, Arthur Harman and family, and her friends and extended family in West Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Gene was born in Wheeling, WV, on November 21, 1923, to James Arthur Harman and Imogene Hissom Harman, who predeceased her, as did her brothers, Virgil and Kenneth; sister-in-laws, Nelda and Aileen Thurman Bartlett; and nieces, Sandra and Vivian.
Gene was head cheerleader at Wheeling High School, Class of 1941, and starred in the title role as the singing pirate, Joan of the Nancy Lee, in the school musical. She never forgot her best girlfriends, The ‘Leven Lassies.
Her father was the General Chairman of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks for the Baltimore & Ohio System, and she lived in Baltimore during the war years, graduating from the Peabody Institute, the second oldest music conservatory in the nation, now a part of Johns Hopkins University, and from Bard Avon Secretarial College, “where they even taught you how to lie for the boss.” She worked for the B&O until the end of World War II and matriculated at West Virginia University in 1945, where she met K in the enrollment line.
She spent the 1950s as a Navy Officer’s Wife, mother and homemaker. During the ’60s and ’70s, she was the Private Secretary to the President of West Virginia University, the Director of Volunteers at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, and again at Fairfax Hospital in Annandale, VA, where she ended her professional career as Executive Secretary to the Director of the Northern Mental Health Institute.
She was proud to be a secretary, and there was never one better. Gene retired to Cavalier Park, where she was proud to be a grandmother. And, there was never one better. She mattered to many and she will be missed. Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet princess, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please contribute generously to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org, or call 800-272-3900 for information. Kind words and memories can be conveyed to the family at james.thurman@gMail.com. Altmeyer Funeral Home, 5792 Greenwich Rd., Va Bch, VA 23462 is handling the arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed to altmeyer.com.