Margaret Lane (Allison) Thurman

April 18, 1939 ~ January 6, 2020 (age 80)


Margaret Allison Thurman (née Margaret Lane Allison) was born in Transylvania County, North Carolina, on April 18, 1939.  Though she had to have her eye teeth filed down for some reason as a teenager, we hesitate to make presumptions about possible vampirism.  Margaret grew up in small towns throughout western North Carolina in her beloved mountains.

Margaret’s parents were Donald Glenn Allison and Martha Talley Allison (née Martha Flora Talley).  Donald was a farm agent and high school agronomics teacher while Martha was a nurse.  Though proud of both, the family takes special pride in Donald’s role as one of the agents introducing kudzu to the South in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to create a new grazing material for livestock.  

One of three children, Margaret was preceded by her brother, Donald Frank Allison (Frank) by three years.  She would go on to tell each of his prospective girlfriends his real name was Francis, as younger sisters are wont to do.  After 7 years (and a World War), came her brother Michael Glenn Allison (Mike), who, though young, is credited with teaching her how to drive a stick shift by climbing in the floor of their field truck and moving her feet appropriately.

Sadly, the family lost Mike when he was 10 in an unfortunate accident, but we frequently heard her fond memories of him.  Frank succumbed in 2008 to cancer.  To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “To lose one brother may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”  And for those of you squirming, know that she would have LOVED that joke.

Margaret went on to graduate high school as valedictorian, a fact she proudly mentioned (usually omitting the detail that the entire class contained 12 people).  She then attended and graduated from UNC Greensboro Women’s college in 1960 and attended every 5-year reunion with her classmates until the final reunion the school threw at 50 years.  After working in Admissions at UNC Chapel Hill for several years post-graduation, she took the summer of 1964 to travel with friends in Europe, after which she moved to a new executive assistant position at an engineering firm in Atlanta, Georgia.  She would later introduce her husband and both daughters to Europe in 1990, creating a love of travel in all that would result in 4 post-retirement river cruises through Europe, focusing mainly on locations in Eastern Europe that had been off limits in ’64, including Russia.

Margaret married late in life for her generation at 30.  From the age of 21 she was known by all the children in the family as “you mean the one who’s not married yet?” which would be loudly clarified as soon as she arrived for a visit and was introduced.  As part of her new position in Atlanta, she interviewed Paul Jack Thurman (Jack) for an engineering position at her company.  (He got the job).  Shockingly robbing the cradle, Jack being two years younger, she and Jack married on November 23, 1969.

The couple’s first house was in Brookhaven where they produced their first daughter, Allison LaFaye Thurman.  Shortly after, they would move to Duluth where their second daughter arrived, Jennifer Margaret Thurman.  Margaret’s mother, upon meeting Jennifer as a newborn, immediately recognized her as, in her words to Margaret, “my revenge upon you.”  This would prove to be largely true.

Only after both children were out of the house did Margaret and Jack relocate to a newer “retirement” home in September of 2003.  Sadly, Jack passed away in December of that year at only 61.  The family likes to think he had some satisfaction in getting her settled in the new home before moving on.

Margaret is survived by both daughters, Allison and Jennifer Thurman, Allison’s husband Daniel Philpott, 5 adoring grandcats, and one mildly cranky parrot.  

Upon realizing her final days were upon her and after great consideration, she determined that her final message to the world was—and I quote—“Vote against Trump!”  She heartedly conveyed this sentiment as long as she could speak to every nurse, aide, orderly, therapist, and doctor at the hospital.  The surviving family now conveys (and endorses) the sentiment on her behalf.  She said her greatest regret in life would be not living to vote against him herself.

If you knew her, you will not be surprised that the corollary to her final message was to encourage voting at every level of government, perhaps especially locally since it can affect our lives so much more directly.  As a librarian, she registered countless voters, including her daughter Jennifer as soon as she could at 17 ½ years of age.  A big fan of Stacey Abrams, she hoped Ms. Abrams would run for office and would have encouraged everyone to vote for her.

Having threatened to haunt her children should an open-casket funeral even be considered, she will be cremated at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, at the address below.  Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the memorial service taking place at 11:00 a.m.

After a lifetime of knowing her, the family realizes how many people loved and admired her and invites everyone with this attitude to celebrate her life with us at the service (and we would love to see standing-room-only since she deserves nothing less).  As her beloved British sitcoms characters would say, anyone not sharing this attitude can “bugger off.”

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Margaret’s name to the American Cancer Society, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 260, Duluth, GA 30097 (770) 814-0123 or the COPD Foundation, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Miami, FL 33134 (866)731-2673 or the American Lung Association in GA, 2452 Spring Rd., SE, Smyrna, GA 30080 (770)544-0521 or a charity of your choice.

Online Condolences may be sent by visiting

 Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes & Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 3088 Duluth Hwy 120, Duluth, GA 30096 (770) 476-2535.


January 11, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel
3088 Duluth Highway 120
Duluth, GA 30096

Memorial Service
January 11, 2020

11:00 AM
Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel
3088 Duluth Highway 120
Duluth, GA 30096


American Cancer Society
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway Suite 200, Duluth GA 30097
Tel: 1-770-814-0123

COPD Foundation
3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Miami FL 33134
Tel: 1-866-731-2673

American Lung Association in GA
2452 Spring Rd., SE, Smyrna GA 30080
Tel: 1-770-544-0521

© 2020 Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Inc.. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS