Family-oriented woman remembered for weekly breakfasts

Week after week, for 12 years, Mildred Thurman’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren walked into her home on Sunday mornings. None was formally invited. But it became a ritual: Someone would bring Krispy Kreme donuts, and Mildred would always make chipped beef gravy.

Thurman was still cooking for her relaxed Sunday breakfasts until her Oct. 30 death in her home of heart failure. She was 95.

She was cremated by Cremation Society of Georgia, and her family will be holding services on Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. at Northside United Methodist Church.

Gail Moore, Thurman’s older daughter, said that her mother’s weekly ritual was an indicator of her interest in connecting with people.

“[We] would just find a way to drop in on Sunday mornings to catch up with everyone,” she said. “She was that glue. She was just curious about people.”

Dorothy Yates, friend and neighbor of Thurman for about 30 years, said Thurman would talk about her family often in their long conversations. Yates added that Thurman was always inviting and welcoming; Yates could come over whenever she pleased.

Thurman’s youngest son, Alvin Thurman, said his favorite moments were when the family members who couldn’t make it to the Sunday breakfast would video call in to catch up. He remembers how large family gatherings made his mother happy, especially the long vacations that they took to the beach.

“Most people thought we were crazy,” he said, discussing the vacations with 16 relatives. “And we all enjoyed it.”

Even as Thurman aged, Alvin said, she never stopped being active. Along with the Sunday breakfasts, she was involved in Girl Scouts, garden clubs, golfing and bridge. She even helped plan and map the gardens of the Atlanta History Center.

“She didn’t want her health to stop her from doing things,” he said. “At 95, it didn’t look like she was getting older. It looked like she was getting younger every year. … She was always active and always demanded to be active.”

Alvin added that he plans to continue many of the family’s traditions, like Christmas Eve luncheons.

“It’s a very close family,” he said. “[She] instilled all that in us.”

In addition to Moore and Alvin, Thurman is survived by her sons, James Thurman and Glenn Thurman of Atlanta, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and five step-great-grandchildren.