Dr. Thora Jane Flack Thurn

by her daughter, Tacy Lee Thurn Ellis

Thora Jane Flack was born December 18, 1936, in Braddock, PA, at 7 PM. Her parents, William Henry Flack and Sarah Evelyn Hyde Flack, took her home to Pitcairn, where she was raised, attended church, completed elementary school, and graduated from high school, Class of 1954. She married Paul Herman Thurn, on June 14, 1958. She traveled with him throughout his USAF career. They had one daughter, Tacy, in 1961. Thora earned three degrees in literature, the last being her doctorate from Texas Christion University in 1990. She was a professor at TCU for several years. She was an avid writer and active at the library, and other clubs in Weatherford. She and Paul made their home in Peaster for the last 49 years of their 65 years of marriage. My mother was the most proper lady I have known. She wore hats, she wore gloves, she exhibited perfect posture, crossed her legs at the ankles, had perfect table manners, and eloquence in all she carried out. It is an honor to write her obituary, but one of the most difficult tasks that a daughter can possibly complete. Thora Jane Flack was independent from the beginning. At age 5 she knew she wanted to be an English teacher. It was also at age five that she met my dad, Paul Herman Thurn, at Sunday school, saying, “He unmercifully teased me and always pulled at the strings of my tailored hats! However, he was a cute little fat boy, who was so mischievous,” finishing with, “He had beautiful legs.”

In high school, Thora Flack was in the Spanish Club, the honor society, the Drama Club, on the Yearbook Staff, and always made it clear that she was not an athlete. She graduated from Pitcairn High School in 1954. She wrote that her greatest victory at the time was, “winning an academic scholarship to Pennsylvania College for Women.” She attended Pennsylvania Women’s College and worked part time, until 1957, when, in a corn field near Harlingen, TX, Paul Herman, now an U.S. Air Force Aviation Cadet, proposed to her. They were married on June 14, 1958. Thora Jane Flack Thurn was the perfect officer’s wife and loved attending the formal functions dressed to the hilt. In 1961, their only child, Tacy, was born. Thora took on the role of mother, at times the single parent, and cared for me, while Daddy served overseas, during the Vietnam War. During that time, her father William Henry Flack, “Papa,” lived with us in Abilene, Texas. She took part in several theatrical productions in Abilene, but I most remember her as “Peppermint Patty” in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. She enrolled me in theater classes. She even convinced my dad to play opposite her in a two-person play a few years ago, about a couple who spent their entire life in love. Mother did not particularly enjoy driving and would enlist my help (when I was four and five) in backing out of parking spots. Her favorite vehicles were her Corvette Stingray, her El Camino and her Camaro. Thora was a gourmet chef – preparing cuisine from recipes around the globe for her family, nightly. She was a writer.

They moved several times during Paul’s career in the USAF. Momma loved Salt Lake City but agreed to reside in Peaster so that I could keep my horse and Daddy could have his wild west home. My parents traveled across America over and over again and she was always proud of her country. In 1977, Thora received a BA degree from Tarleton State University. Education, “the most important gift anyone could earn,” did not stop there. In 1978, she received her masters at Tarleton and began teaching at that university. She taught English several years, before attending Texas Christian University, and earning her doctoral title in 1990. Dr. Thurn, now a Horn Frog, taught at TCU. She published her dissertation entitled, “The quest for freedom in the changing west of Edward Abbey and Larry McMurtry.” Dr. Thurn always encouraged reading and was an active member of the Friends of the Weatherford Public Library, a member of the Weatherford/Parker County Newcomers’ Club, serving as chairperson for both organizations for many years. She was named “Outstanding Clubwoman in Parker County” in 1994 and 2000. She loved to play bridge and was in a bridge club. She once even campaigned while running for Parker County Treasurer. She was a member of the Poolville Global Methodist Church.

She had an undying devotion to her husband of 65 years. They were together for all the “better” and at the end, the “worse.” But, Momma was the LIFE of the party and full of energy, the Momma I love was bold, and intelligent, a friend when needed, had a sense of humor, and was simply vibrant! That is how I choose to remember Dr. Thora Jane Flack Thurn. She passed from this world on February 16, 2024, with my husband Mark, holding her hand. The reader will have to do the math on her age, as a “real lady never reveals her age.” She leaves behind the love of her life, Paul H. Thurn; her daughter Tacy and husband Mark; her first granddaughter, Sarah, and spouse, Brad Evans; her grandson, Drew “Will” Ellis and wife, Nicole, and her two great-grand - sons, Chess and Penn; and her youngest granddaughter, Claire. She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Sarah Flack, her extra mother, Clara P. Radford, a sister, Vi, and an older brother, Joe. As my mother would sign her letters, “May your shadows fall in pleasant places.” Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Research, in hopes that for someone, there will be a cure.