Shirley (Thurston) Griffin class of 1959 passed away on Jan 5, 2014. Shirley was called to Heaven after a long battle with lymphoma. She was born in Trona on Oct 23 1940 and attended school until she was in high school when her parents, Vernon (Ming or Salty) and Mickey sent her to a Christian boarding school. After she was married her family resided in Trona or Ridgecrest on and off through the years.
Shirley Irene Thurston was born on October 23, 1940 in Trona, California to Vernon Samuel and Mickey (Mescal) Eunice Thurston.
Shirley showed her leadership and faith in God at an early age. She was the first Christian in her family and began attending the Foursquare Church in Trona, by herself at age 12. Through her example, her parents and sister came to know Christ.
She attended elementary school in Trona, the Seventh Day Adventist Jr. High in Ridgecrest, then Trona High School through her sophomore high school year. Shirley then attended a Christian boarding school in Clovis, California; West Coast Bible School, where she graduated High School in 1958.
Shirley was active in the community and in her school. She enjoyed Swimming, Basketball, Choir, Track/field and was an accomplished pianist.
She met Jerry Leroy Griffin at their church and then married this man who was to be the love of her life on January 1, 1962 at age 20 in the Church of God in Ridgecrest.
Shirley and Jerry pastored several small Church of God congregations in Victorville, California; Oroville, California; Yreka, California, Metlakatla, Alaska; Mount Pleasant, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Westwood, California; Yuma, Arizona; ending their pastorate positions at Woodburn, Oregon. In Westwood, she was only a few hours from receiving her solo pilot’s license to fly an airplane. What a shame she wasn’t able to finish that great adventure. During a visit to Alaska in 2010, one of the members of the small Metlakatla, Alaska church remembered her. They spent over an hour reminiscing over old times and the fact that Jerry and Shirley facilitated the purchase of the land where the current church still worships.
Shirley had an independent spirit all throughout her life. Starting as a child, she hiked all over the desert surrounding Trona. She made many trips with friends, family and on her own. She hiked the Sierra Mountains for two weeks by herself and traveled to China alone with a tour group and managed to ditch them along the way to see the sites she was interested in. She took thousands of pictures from all over the world, documenting her life of amazing adventures.
At the time of her death she was attending Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, CA. Shirley had an amazing capacity to love that was evident to all who met her. She immediately accepted and loved every inherited grandchild when her sons remarried. She was always careful to keep family close with her children’s respective spouses. Shirley’s pure demonstration of love touched the hearts of all who knew her. She finished the race of life with confidence and love for Jesus Christ, thankful for the saving grace of her Lord.
She is survived by her sister, Carol Dian (Dee) Burdine, daughter Janice, sons Vernon and Jerry, 11 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, 5 nieces, 1 nephew, 17 great nieces and nephews and 2 great great nephews along with infinite extended family and friends.