Contributed by his granddaughter Kirsten Gearheart
William Kyle Thurmond Jr. was born in “new” Healdton, previously an Indian territory that quickly transformed into a community of oil fields, of Carter County, Oklahoma in December 1930. He was the second and final child of Ethel and William Thurmond—his older sister, Virginia Thurmond, was born in October 1926. One of his favorite pastimes during the Great Depression was going on fishing trips with his father, evidenced by the 1934 snapshot above. William Jr. attended the town’s pubic school until he graduated high school and went onto obtain a college education at Oklahoma State University. He eventually moved to Roanoke, Virginia, married Martha Lou Gearheart, and helped in raising her three boys and their daughter, Monica Thurmond.