EXETER, N.H. — Constance P. “Connie” Thurston, 95, of Bethel, widow of Murray W. “Mike” Thurston, died Wednesday, Sept. 27, in Exeter, N.H., where she had resided since 2012.

Connie was born in Rangeley, Maine, December 29, 1921, and was the daughter of Fernald and Nina (Blackwood) Philbrick. She was raised in Rangeley, attended school there and then graduated from the Maine School of Commerce.

Connie was then employed at her first employer, P.H. Chadbourne Company in Bethel for several years. In 1943 she met Mike, who was to depart the next day for World War II service and whom she would not see for 2 ½ years. After his return they were married on June 1, 1947.

After serving as secretary for the Bethel School District, in 1966 she and Mike opened The Barn Motel, converted from the Thurston family farm, which they sold in 1986 and later became the Riverview Resort. Through the rest of her life she cherished the friends she and Mike made during that time.

Always athletic, Connie was an avid and accomplished golfer, tennis player and skier. While Mike was instrumental in the formation of Sunday River Ski Resort, if there had been an official “First Lady” of Sunday River, it likely would have been she. She and Mike lived much of their adult lives with and around the many close friends they met through Sunday River and “The Washingtonians,” a group with whom she and Mike made many ski trips to Europe. Their lives were also enhanced by the many lasting friendships they made in the wood products manufacturing industry through the J.A. Thurston Company. She was also a member of The Bethel Historical Society and of the West Parish Congregational Church. Connie was also both a humble winner and a gracious loser at bridge, a game of which she couldn’t pass up.

More than anything else, Connie will be remembered by both her oldest and newer friends as a very special lady who loved to live, laugh, dance and love. Her zest for life was complete, and she was admired by those who knew her as someone with a very special grace and elegance. Even in her later years her laugh and million-watt smile would light up a room.

She was survived by her loving sons, David, John and Peter; her seven absolutely cherished grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mom, we will miss you so very, very much.

Friends are invited to sign the family guest book and share their thoughts, condolences and fond memories online at www.meaderandson.com.

Constance P. Thurston

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