EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 17, 2013

William H. Thurston, 71

Middleton — William H. Thurston, 71, passed away peacefully on September 11, 2013, at his home with his family by his side. The cause was prostate cancer.

He was born in Danvers, Mass., to Elsie M. (Brisbois) and Ray B. Thurston.

Bill met his wife of 43 years, Kathy, after returning from serving in Vietnam, and the two were married in 1970.

From a young age, Bill found interests in music and writing, which he later shared with his sons, Aaron and Ryan. His love of music and the performing arts led in large part to his founding of The Sad Cafe in 1997. Bill created this Plaistow, N.H., performance venue and nonprofit organization as a dedicated, safe place for young people to hang out, share their time, and express themselves openly through music. The cafe’s success in this regard garnered attention from New Hampshire media and officials, including honors from Governor Craig Benson, and awards from publications such as "The Alternative News."

With Kathy, he started Thurston Bookkeeping Associates, an accounting and tax practice. Bill chose to conduct this business from his home, allowing him to focus on helping to raise their two sons. He took great joy in the work, mostly due to the cherished friendships he gathered and maintained through his practice.

Bill lived in Middleton for most of his life. When he bought his parents’ home in 1973, he embarked on a decades-long journey of renovations, creating additions and improvements to the home, where he lived with his family for the rest of his life.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen (Ahern); his sons, Aaron Thurston of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ryan Thurston of Boston; his sisters, Eunice Barthelemy and Sandra Thurston; his sister-in-law, Maureen Ahern; his nieces and a nephew.

ARRANGEMENTS: Friends and family are invited to Bill’s family home for a celebration of his life on Sunday, September 29, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Bill’s life was filled with challenges due to having mitochondrial disease, which affected his cancer as well. If desired, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Mitochondrial Disease Action Committee for their mission to improve the quality of life for all who are affected by mitochondrial disorders at www.MitoAction.org, or MitoAction, P.O. Box 51474, Boston, MA 02205.

Assisting the family with the arrangements is the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home 167 Maple St., Route 62, Danvers. To share a memory, or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com.