Donna Raye (Francis) Thurman
Dec. 10, 1945 - Nov. 16, 2022
November 23, 2022
Donna Raye (Francis) Thurman, 76, of Sweet Home, passed away Nov. 16, 2022, with her family at her side.
She was born Dec. 10, 1945, in Salem. Her parents were Cluff and Irene Francis.
She joined the family as a transition was being made from living in Willamina to Sweet Home.
She has an older brother, Larry, and the family lived in a tent during their first year in Sweet Home while their house was being built.
As Donna grew up, her double cousins became her first playmates. Together, they roamed the nearby forest as a band of wild Indians. Donna's best friend in school was actually a Yakima Indian girl named Norma Mosqueda.
She started grade school at the Pleasant Valley School and the second year she went to Oak Heights in town. She graduated from high school in 1964.
Also in 1964 she married Frank A. Thompson. They had two children, Teresa and Larry.In 1972 she and Frank divorced.
Donna started working as a dispatcher at the Sweet Home Police Department for a time beforejoining the EMT crew as the first paid and the first female EMT.
Donna continued her schooling and became Sweet Home's first female police officer.
At this time female police officers were very rare. During her time with the police department, she achieved the rank of patrol sergeant.
Also at this time she met a new fellow officer, Darrell Thurman. In April of 1978 the two were married.
Donna changed from police sergeant to dispatch supervisor and a detective.
She and Darrell shared a great interest in genealogy and they made a trip across the country, looking up relatives along their wandering route. They truly loved the outdoors, with fishing and hunting trips often marked off on the calendar.
Among other things, the two of them would join in law enforcement shooting competitions, and often she would win the pistol events.
Donna suffered a spinal injury while a police officer at Sweet Home and was forced to retire from active police duty. For a while she sold real estate and then she went to work for the Linn County Sheriff's Office as a corrections deputy for several years.
When she retired, she was working for the Oregon State Justice Department.
Donna and Darrell raised granddaughter Sandy Thompson.
They were very involved with all of thegrandchildren, and rarely missed any of their events.
In her later years she was quite active with the Sweet Home Elks Club. She enjoyed being the "Egg Cooker" for the club's Sunday breakfasts.
She was the treasurer and a big recruiter for the club.
Donna was adopted by Cluff and Irene as a wee infant. Her birth mother was Cluff's younger sister, Verna.
Donna is survived by a daughter, Teresa Thompson (Ray Dugger), and son Larry Thompson, all of Sweet Home; threegrandchildren, Sandy Thompson, Katie Ensley and Wyatt Ensley of Sweet Home; great-granddaughter KadenceThompson of Sweet Home; stepson Curt Thurman of Kingman, Ariz., and his children, Tyler and Amanda Thurman; brother Larry Francis (Donna A) of Salem; and a half-brother, Bill Freeman ofNevada.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Sweet Home Elks Lodge, 440 Osage St.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Sweet Home Elks No. 1972 Building Fund