Gene Christensen Thurston

Gene Christensen Thurston crossed the veil peacefully in her sleep on 14 Nov 2019 in St. George, UT, attended by her daughter. Gene was born in Emmett, ID, 3 Aug 1925, to Irven Christensen and Lucy Irene Davis. Gene was raised in many towns in southeast Idaho… including on a farm on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. She graduated from Blackfoot High School in 1944. She attended BYU for one year and “graduated” with her “MRS” degree when she met and married Bruce Thurston 12 Jul 1946 in the Logan LDS temple. They bought a small home in Lewiston, UT, where they lived for four years while Bruce attended Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) and Gene worked as a telephone operator. Bruce graduated with a Civil Engineer Degree. The next four years he worked for the Bureau of Public Roads as a Highway Engineer. They traveled from job to job every 4 to 6 weeks, pulling a house trailer … all over the United States. They sold the trailer in 1954 and bought a house in Boise, Idaho. In 1959 Bruce transferred to the US Bureau of Reclamation and moved to Spanish Fork, Utah, then to Provo, Utah and ultimately to St. George, Utah where they drew up plans for their home.

Gene was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in many callings over the years, including President twice, many times counselor, chorister and teacher in the Relief Society. She served in the YWMIA on both ward and stake levels, including dance directors. She was a Visiting Teacher for over 65 years. She worked in the St. George Temple and spent many hours on genealogy work. Gene and Bruce served a full-time mission in the Connecticut Hartford mission in 1981-82. Gene enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She loved to serve others and did so all her life… including housing 3 Indian students and many friends and relatives while they attended school (her door was always open). She played women’s church softball. She enjoyed roller skating, dancing, camping, quilting, rug making, making carpenter jobs for Bruce and helping build houses. She loved singing and sang soprano in many choirs. She and Bruce sang duets in meetings, funerals and weddings. They sang for hours with each other whenever they traveled. She loved to cook and sew and bake and rearrange furniture. She enjoyed going with Bruce while he fished, and she would collect walking sticks and rocks. Her most favorite thing was to visit with anyone and everyone. She loved to pull weeds and work outside.

Gene is survived by her six children: Gary C Thurston, Hurricane, UT; Happi Hansen (Alan), Newport, OR; Judy Jenson (Dave), Salem, OR; Jacque Kofoed (Jim), Jackson, WY; Kevin Thurston, St. George, UT; Marv Thurston (Jan), Orem, UT, 28 grandchildren, 79 great grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren; three sisters: Lou Beyer, Santa Clara, UT; Dian Kelly (Art), Jameson, MO; Kay Kelsey (Mike), Carey, ID; three brothers: Art Christensen (Margaret), Saratoga Springs, UT; Dale Christensen (Mary-Jo), London, England; Karl Christensen (Leslie), South Jordan, UT.

Gene was preceded in death by her Eternal Companion, Bruce Thurston; parents Irven and Lula Christensen; stepmother, Esther Thornton Christensen; sister Lea Price, brothers Myral Christensen, Lynn Christensen; son-in-law Bryan Stott and daughter-in-law Sheila McNeil.

The funeral will be held at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St, St. George, Saturday 23 Nov 2019 at 11 am with a viewing from 9 am to 10:30 am. Interment will be in St. George City Cemetery.

Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to Gene’s online guestbook at



9:00-10:30 a.m.

Second Visitation


11:00 am


Spilsbury Mortuary Chapel
110 S. Bluff
St. George, UT


12:00 pm
St. George City Cemetery
700 E. Tabernacle
St. George

Guest Book

13 Responses

  1. Dear Marv Thurston & family… I just happened to read this about your mother. Sincere love and thoughts, I so frequently think fondly of you and the years of ‘working ‘ with you in the District Court system. Thoughts and prayers…… Tauna Hammer Lyzenga (Tawni)

  2. Love you Grandma Gene!

    Leading The Way

    This poem is about my dear grandparents (my dad’s mother and father, Bruce & Gene Thurston) and the example of living and leaving an example to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I always love sitting for hours listening to them tell stories from long ago and am always amazed at all they have seen and experienced during their lifetime. In October 2011 just two days after my grandpa’s 86th birthday I went to his doctor’s appointment where we were told of Bruce’s cancer around his stomach. It was already in Stage 4 and over the next few months grandpa lost so much weight, but he always kept smiling and talking more than ever.

    Leading The Way
    (Tribute of honor to Bruce & Gene Thurston)

    There are people in life leading the way
    They are always around us never going away
    We love to learn about the way they live
    The way they love, teach, pray and give
    The stories they tell are beyond their worth
    They tell us by example how we should live on Earth
    They live to show their forbearance and love
    To everyone in their family and to their God above
    There are people in our lives leading the way
    Making us better by the examples they display
    They love to live and enjoy each day
    And when the time comes they won’t be far away
    By: Jarom Lee Thurston (Grandson to Bruce & Gene Thurston) Sunday – Dec. 4, 2011

  3. As a child our favorite place to visit was Aunt Gene’s house. Loved going there and loved there for a summer. She will be missed but I’m am happy for the reunion with her husband and parents beyond the veil. ❤️

  4. I am so sorry to see you lose your Mom. She and Bruce were sime of the nicest people in the whole world. Rest in peace Gene

  5. Dear Judy and family, Thank you for taking such good care of your sweet mother Gene. It has been our privilege to know both Gene and Bruce for manly years. I know her joy is full as she has joined her wonderful husband Bruce. Oh how I appreciated our close association in the early years when they moved to St. George. Bruce was always willing to help and give me encouragement in our business pursuits. Gene was always at his side with a smile and twinkle in her eyes. I have admired you children taking care of Gene and the love you have shown her. You have truly honored your mother and father. May your joy be full as you contemplate the service you have given your sweet mother Gene in her hours, days, months and years of need. Our sincere condolences at this special time. Jim and Denise McArthur

  6. I love Gene. I am so very thankful for Gene being there for me when we were having our babies born in Provo. And thanks for tons of fun! So many gathered at her house. Oh, and Bruce ran down to the freezer whenever she beckoned him. What a team! Later on it was fun to see her landscaping in St. George, my hometown. Gene had nice things to say about my relatives she met; she had a gift for remembering good things about people. May her influence help us all to be kinder and endure well. Love, Margaret

  7. I love aunt Gene! She always was so kind to me and loved to visit and share about our family history. Especially since my dad died fairly early on she was so good to share with me memories about my dad. I always looked forward to seeing aunt Gene on my visits to St George.

  8. I remember that Gene used to send, to my Grandpa Rex Christensen (her 1st cousin), very nice letters in envelopes full of kind, encouraging, upbeat messages and little comics that she had clipped out of magazines and cards for him. She sent them all the time while he was in the nursing home. He and his wife Ina and the rest of our family really appreciated them! And when my Grandpa passed away in 2016, she started sending similar envelopes to his brother Don. She was a very sweet, caring person.

  9. I loved talking with Gene she always had a lot of wisdom. Last time I saw her was back in 1985. I have thought of her many times but didn’t know how to contact her. She is a great lady. I would say rest in peace but for faithful members of the church passing through the veil only means new opportunities for eternal work and teaching the gospel…so I will say God Bless You Gene Full Speed Ahead!!!

  10. Family,

    This morning I awakened and made a call to Gene to complain about how long it had been since we last talked. Instead of her answering, a message recording said to try my call later. A few hours later I received a text message that said “Sorry, I think you have the wrong number.” I felt something was wrong and tried to call Marv, but the number I have for him was no longer in service. A little bit of research for Marv’s number yielded Gene’s obituary. I am devastated!!! So sorry for your loss, for my loss. So sorry that I allowed so much time to pass without sharing warm words of the heart. Both Bruce and Gene were Devine angels; I am blessed to have touch shoulders with them. They will always be my family in every sense of the word.


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