Aliene A. Thurston, age 101 years, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, November 7, 2017 at Vassar Fields. Aliene A. Gardner was born on September 7, 1916 in Fairgrove, the daughter of the late Ray and Jennie (Sellers) Gardner. She graduated in 1934 from Fairgrove High School and from Tuscola County Normal in 1936. Aliene would later earn a B.A. from Central Michigan University in 1959. On June 3, 1944, she and George Thurston were united in marriage and after 40 years together, he preceded her in death on May 25, 1985. Aliene began a teaching career that spanned 30 years. She began teaching in the rural schools of Cooks, Mitchell, Hinson, Van Patten and Juniata Brick in Tuscola County. Aliene eventually spent a majority of her years with the Reese Public Schools.
Aliene remained active through the years as a member of the Vassar First United Methodist Church, where she was president of the U.M.W. for many years. She was also a member of the Farm Bureau, a life member of the Millington Order of Eastern Star and of Grand Chapter. Aliene enjoyed quilting, and was a member of the Cass River Quilters and the Millington Quilt Club.
Surviving family include her daughter, Elaine (Ted) Schunn of Vassar; grandchildren, Ted Schunn II and Darlene (Gordon) Moon; great-grandchildren, Nicole and Tyler Moon and many nieces and nephews. Aliene was preceded in death by her parents; three sisters, Genevieve Luther, Maxine Austin and Nadine Moss; and one brother, William Gardner.
The funeral service was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 10, 2017 at the Vassar First United Methodist Church, 139 N. Main St. in Vassar. Pastor Scott Sherrill officiating, with burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery. The family greeted friends on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at the Penzien-Steele Funeral Home, 149 N. Main St. in Vassar. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to the Vassar First United Methodist Church.