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Joe B. Thurston
Birth: Feb. 5, 1981
Cedar City
Iron County
Utah, USA
Death: Jun. 30, 2013
Yavapai County
Arizona, USA

*The heroism and selflessness of fire professionals must always be honored and remembered.*

Joe B. Thurston, age 32, passed away on June 30, 2013. He was born on Feb. 5, 1981, to Arthur and Gayemarie (Ekker) Thurston in Cedar City, Utah.

Joe attended Cedar City schools graduating from Cedar High School in 1999. Joe earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology & Chemistry from Southern Utah University in 2006. After graduation, he stated fire training and went to work with the Fire Department in 2008.

A firefighter and EMT since 2008, Joe was enthusiastic and very service oriented about his work. He was part of the Groom Creek Volunteer Fire District for two years. He was selected for the Elite Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew of Prescott, Arizona. This was his second season with Granite Mountain Hotshots. He was energetic, compassionate, determined, loving, funny, hardworking, and extremely kind. A devoted family man, he could always be found at the baseball field or on the floor playing with his boys.

In 2002, Joe married his high school sweetheart, Marsena. Joe was an outdoors junkie. He loved snowboarding, skateboarding, you name it. He was a talented drummer, and he loved to socialize for any occasion. He loved playing with his children, whether baseball or rough housing. His family was his life. Joe was a truly kind person with a bright smile. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Joe is survived by his wife of eleven years, Marsena and his two sons, Ethan, age 7 and Collin, age 4 of Prescott Valley, AZ; his mother, Gayemarie Ekker of Cedar City, UT; brother, Dr. Lee Thurston (Raeanne), their children Lindsey and Alex of Prescott, AZ; sister Laurel (Curtis) Peterson, their children McKinzie and Karson of St. George, UT. Joe is also survived by his grandfather, Warren (Sandy) Thurston of Moab, UT; aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and numerous friends scattered worldwide.

Joe was preceded in death by his father, Arthur L. Thurston, grandparents Frances Every Thurston, and Arthur Benjamin and Hazel Biddlecome Ekker. He was also preceded in death by his uncles Roger Thurston and A.C. Ekker.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donation be made in Joe's name to the Joe Thurston Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank for his surviving children. Hampton Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements. Please visit to sign Joe's guest book.

Information provided by survivors. [The Daily Courier, Prescott, Arizona, Sunday, July 07, 2013]
Two of the 19 firefighters killed in the devastating Yarnell Hills wildfire in Arizona have ties to Utah.

Joe Thurston, 32, was born and raised in Cedar City and attended Cedar High School and Southern Utah University. He leaves behind his wife and two young sons.

"He was the best dad in the whole world; best husband and son," said Cedar City resident Gayemarie Thurston, Joe's mother.

Joe Thurston played soccer in high school and went on to marry his high school sweetheart and now wife of 11 years, Marsena Lopez Thurston.

"He always saw the best in everyone," Gayemarie said of her son. "He never complained. He always went the extra mile for family and friends."

Friends in Cedar City remember Thurston as a generous person who made those around him feel comfortable.

"He was very compassionate, very considerate of others," said E. Jay Overson, a longtime friend of Thurston. "It doesn't surprise me that he became a firefighter; he's just very service-oriented, he puts others before himself."

Thurston and fellow firefighters were battling the out-of-control wildfire Sunday near Yarnell when the wind suddenly reversed and trapped the crew of 19 who were unable to survive even with their fire shelters deployed.

"Dependability and decency radiated from him even at a very young age," read a statement about Joe released by the Thurston family. "Joe will be missed and will forever be our hero."

"He's the type of person that if you meet him once, you'll remember him," Overson said of Thurston.

Direct donations to help Thurston's wife and two sons can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank under the "Joe Thurston Memorial Account."
Joe Thurston, loving father of two, devoted husband of 11 years, found joy in all he did. He was a native of Cedar City Utah, born in 1981 and graduate of Cedar High class of 1999. He will be remembered for his bravery and selflessness.

A firefighter and EMT since 2008, Joe was enthusiastic about his work and very service-oriented. He was energetic, compassionate, determined, loving, funny, hardworking and extremely kind. Joe managed to be wildly fun to be around always rallying the group to the next adventure, and the type of guy whose smile filled the room.

A devoted family man he could always be found at the baseball field or on the floor playing with the kids. Head over heels for his high school sweetheart and wife of 11 years Marsena, he used every day as a new opportunity to show his love.

Joe will be missed and will FOREVER be our hero.

Yarnell Hill 19 ~ Answering Last Alarm 30 Jun 2013:

Andrew Sterling Ashcraft - Age: 29
Robert Caldwell - Age: 23
Travis Clay Carter - Age: 31
Dustin James Deford - Age: 24
Christopher Alan Peebles MacKenzie - Age: 30
Eric Shane Marsh - Age: 43
Grant Quinn McKee - Age: 21
Sean Michael Misner - Age: 26
Scott Daniel Norris - Age: 28
Wade Scott Parker - Age: 22
John Joseph Percin Jr - Age: 24
Anthony Michael Rose - Age: 23
Jesse James Steed - Age: 36
Joe B. Thurston - Age: 32
Travis Turbyfill - Age: 27
William Howard "Billy" Warneke - Age: 25
Clayton Thomas Whitted - Age: 28
Kevin Joseph Woyjeck - Age: 21
Garret Joseph Zuppiger - Age: 27
Family links: 
  Arthur Lee Thurston (1942 - 2003)
Note: Burial 9 Jul 2013
Arizona Pioneers Home Cemetery
Yavapai County
Arizona, USA
Created by: Amy Caddell
Record added: Jul 01, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 113181168
Joe B. Thurston
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Joe B. Thurston
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Joe B. Thurston
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