Thurston, Margaret Haskell

Thurston, Margaret Haskell

Margaret Haskell Thurston, 70, passed away at home on May 7, 2023. The eldest daughter of George and Ruth (Smart) Thurston, Margaret was born in Sorrento in 1952, and attended schools in Sorrento, Sullivan, and Machiasport. A 1970 graduate of Machias Memorial High School, she graduated from the University of Maine at Orono as a French major.

While at Maine, Margaret earned distinction as one of the first women to participate in a coed varsity sport as a member of the riflery team. After a stint in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves, Margaret earned a Masters in Linguistics from The Ohio State University. She had a long and distinguished career as a linguist in the Department of Defense in the DC area.

Although life took her to many different places, Margaret was always a Mainer at heart and retired to Sullivan, where she was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth and the Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society.

Margaret had broad interests including travel far and near, genealogy, wooden ships, old cemeteries, and family adventures. She had a lively intellect with a love of words and language and was a loyal fan of the Orioles and Red Sox.

She is survived by her mother Ruth Thurston of Machias, brother Tom (Fuzzy) Thurston and Liz Conrad of Nine Mile Falls, Washington, and sisters Betsy Thurston of Machias, Cathy and Jim Kotredes of Brewer, Ellen and Jim Pletz of Wilmington, Delaware and Sally Thurston of Maynard, Massachusetts. Margaret was close to her many nieces and nephews and their families, as well as her cousin Roger Thurston of Lexington, Kentucky. Margaret was predeceased by her father George Thurston. Margaret maintained lifelong friendships with school and college classmates, as well as Air Force friends and professional colleagues.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, May 26 at 1 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth at 121 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth. A reception will follow the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Margaret’s memory can be made to the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, P.O. Box 150, Hancock, 04640 or Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1672, Ellsworth, 04605.

Condolences may be expressed at

23 Condolences

  • Janis (Ward) Scott Posted May 13, 2023 1:23 pm

    Dearest Thurston Family, I am so sorry to hear of Margaret’s passing. I treasure all the memories we made together: the many good ones and the really great ones. You knew when she got that impish grin on her face that you were either headed for trouble or an amazing adventure! My prayers are with you all.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 7:46 am

      Thank-you for writing. I know she had great memories of her friendship with you.

  • Suzanne Forest Posted May 15, 2023 3:15 pm

    I knew Margaret through work and our ladies book club in Maryland for many years. She kept reading along with us for years after retiring to Maine, and whether near or far she was always the proverbial ray of sunshine. I will miss her terribly, and keep her and the Thurston family in my prayers

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 7:49 am

      Thanks for writing. We heard a lot about her friends in book club.Her Maryland associations meant a lot to her.

  • Barbara A. DeBoy Posted May 15, 2023 3:20 pm

    I am beyond sad. Margaret w as a member of our book club, a beloved member. Such a great sense of humor! Such a great friend!

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 9:50 am

      Thanks for writing. Her friends in the book club meant a lot to her. We are comforted by the thought of how many friends she had.

  • Laurie Jordan Mattila Posted May 17, 2023 10:49 am

    My deepest sympathies to all the Thurstons. I visited your house many times in the late 60s and early 70s. Maybe you’ll remember that Margaret and I were roommates at UMO and that we brought our hamsters Fred and Freda and a turtle to visit, too. I wish I had known Margaret was nearby.
    Laurie Jordan Mattila
    Prospect Harbor

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 4, 2023 3:18 pm

      Dear Laurie, I remember you very well, both your visit (although not the turtle), and at Orono. I remember how much fun you all seemed to be having. I also remember that you were a counselor at Truda with Margaret. When I was a counselor 2 years later, the kids were still asking after you! I don’t know how she lost track of you, but I’m sorry we didn’t contact you sooner. Her address list was incomplete– 4 Kathys and numerous Lauries, but no last names. Thank-you for writing.

  • Laurie Ressler Posted May 18, 2023 1:54 pm

    Margaret and I go back to the 1990s working for the government. I will always remember the twinkle in her eye, her marvelous sense of humor, and most of all, the steadfast good-heartedness she shared in every interaction. I am so glad I got to visit her in Maine one last time in 2019. My deepest sympathies to the Thurston family. Until we meet again, dear megobaro.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 9:56 am

      It is nice to hear all the fond memories of Margaret’s friends. I’m glad you shared a trip to Maine with her.

  • David Petrisko Posted May 18, 2023 5:58 pm

    I knew Margaret since the 70s. We spent lots of time together at work and travelling around Europe. We spent lots of time at ballgames and having fun. She will be missed. Condolences to the family on the loss of this lovely lady.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 9:58 am

      Thanks for writing. Travel and baseball were 2 of her favorite things, and she had a lot of fond memories of sharing both with friends.

  • Kismet Oettinger Susan Neumann Posted May 18, 2023 6:20 pm

    We go back to the early 90s with Margaret, , becoming quick friends..Great a her profession, she did not suffer any fools. We had the joy of traveling with around Germany and Turkey, and we all had a great love for Berlin. We are pretty much devastated from her passing, gone way too soon. We will continue to improve our minds and vote out the crazies out, just as she would have liked. Would have loved to have hugged this Mainer one last time. We will be at the celebration of life .

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 10:03 am

      We were glad to meet you at the service and hear your stories and memories. Most of her photos were of scenery rather than people, but we did find one of the two of you in Bavaria(?).Thank-you for coming such a long way to say good-bye.

  • Susan Douglas Posted May 19, 2023 12:53 am

    Sending sincerest condolences to Margaret’s family. I knew Margaret from our Air Force days. She was an exceptional linguist and good people. May she rest in peace.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 10:11 am

      Thanks for writing.Margaret had a lot of fond memories of her Air Force friends.

  • Sharon Glass Posted May 19, 2023 9:46 am

    So sad that we all have lost Margaret. We spent many fun adventures together traveling . i went with her to Maine when she was finding her retirement home. I was lucky to get to see why she loved main so much. We often talked over the phone, sharing about our families and the latest on what was happening in the world. We often thought it was too bad that we weren’t in charge. I will sorely miss her common sense and wisdom and her laugh.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 10:18 am

      Thanks for sharing you memories. Margaret loved traveling almost as much as she loved Maine.We went on a lot of mini adventures with her after she retired, exploring all corners of Maine. She got a great deal of enjoyment out of our discoveries in new places.I’m glad you got to see Downeast Maine with her.

  • Penny (Pyles) Courtney Posted May 19, 2023 10:31 am

    To the Thurston family — I am so very sorry to learn this news. I was stationed in Berlin, Germany with Margaret and later we worked at the same agency, each going separate work ways. But we gathered monthly for a rousing game of Bunco. Margaret was an enthusiastic player, a marvelous hostess, and she loved to laugh at everyone’s stories. May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing to those she loved.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 10:22 am

      Margaret had a lot of good memories of her time in Germany, and she really enjoyed her Bunco group.Thanks for writing.

  • Carolyn Crooks Posted May 23, 2023 12:55 am

    Margaret was everything you would want in a friend and especially in a Book Club friend,, so witty, with a wonderful appreciation for and way with words. And she was so kind and generous of heart . Words cannot express the loss I feel and the deep sadness . My thoughts, prayers and most sincere sympathies are with Margaret’s family in their grief.

    • Betsy Thurston Posted June 5, 2023 10:24 am

      Margaret really enjoyed her book club friends and talked a lot about them.It sounds like a great group. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • Brenda Alper Posted June 14, 2023 9:46 pm

    To a wonderful fellow Mainer fondly called “Hoover” by our co-ed softball team. We shared the outfield and she could always be counted on to track and catch the ball like a vacuum! We had wicked fun and adored her spirit! Definitely left this earth too soon! With deepest sympathy.

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