George A. "Al" Thernes – January 7, 2014

Thernes Obit PicGeorge A. “Al” Thernes was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Nov. 15, 1928 to George Leo and Mary Ann (MacKenzie) Thernes.  He died at 85 years of age on Jan. 7, 2014, after a brief illness.
Services will be at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, in Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel with the Rev. Stephen Friedrich, pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, officiating.  Burial will be in Llano Cemetery.   Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Mr. Thernes’ father worked as a salesman and later manager at various public utility companies in Omaha, NE, Waco, TX, Mitchell, SD, Grand Island, NE and Kansas City, MO.  He joined the Marine Corps on graduation from Lillis High School in 1946.  Trained at Camp Pendleton California he was stationed in California and Hawaii.
Mr. Thernes left active duty late in 1947, enrolling at Rockhurst College in Kansas City studying under the Jesuits for two years.  The Marine Corps recalled him to active duty late in 1950 as the Korean War escalated.  That year, the Marine Corps began a Special Basic Class to train officers with less than a bachelor’s degree who passed the College Equivalency Test.  The Corps commissioned him as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1951.  The Marines assigned him to ANGLICO (Air/Naval Gunfire Liaison Company) as a naval gunfire spotter with the 1st Marine Division to help direct fire from battleships, heavy cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and destroyer escorts pounding coastal positions (as Mr. Thernes put it “… to sell democracy to the North Koreans and Chinese…”).  Concluding that assignment, Al was re-assigned as an Artillery Forward Observer with the Korean Marines south of Panmunjon.  Al said, “We were winning when I left Korea after 11 months”.  Al continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves as training officer, platoon commander, executive officer and Commanding Officer of Amarillo’s 88th Special Infantry Company.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years.
On returning to the US, he lived and worked in Kansas City, MO where he met and married Eileen Shinn, then as a stewardess with TWA.  They married in 1953 and moved to San Angelo, TX where Mr. Thernes worked for a local radio/TV station and Mrs. Thernes worked as a public school teacher.  Al and Eileen moved to Amarillo in 1955 when he began work for KGNC Radio and TV (now KAMR).  He also worked at KFDA Radio/TV and KVII over the years.  The family moved to Colorado Springs, CO in 1967 where Al worked as station manager for KRDO Radio (taking the station from fourth to first in 2 years) and later KEDI.  They moved back to Amarillo in 1973 when Al accepted a position with Monte Rosenwald Advertising.  He left Rosenwald after five years and opened his own advertising/marketing business continuing until his retirement.
The couple had three children, Sherry (Thernes) Miller, a music teacher in Killeen, TX, Mark currently a vice-president with PNC Bank in Baltimore, MD and Bruce who died in childhood.  The couple also have two grandchildren, Geoffrey Miller of St. Louis, MO and Kathryn Miller currently a student at West Texas A&M.
Al volunteered with the Texas Division of the American Cancer Society, serving in several capacities including Public Information Chairman locally, District 15 Public Information Chairman, District 15 Chairman and Area I Chairman.  He also served as a member of the Texas State Cancer Society Public Information Chairman.  As a twelve year member of the Texas Board of Directors, he spent 8 years on the Texas Division’s Executive Committee.  Mr. Thernes worked with the Cancer Society and other local citizens to obtain a regional cancer treatment facility resulting in construction of the Harrington Cancer Center.  He also volunteered with Meals on Wheels locally for over 10 years, making his last delivery the week before Thanksgiving (2013).
Al was preceded in death by his youngest son, Bruce (1966) and wife Eileen (2006).  He is survived by his daughter, son, the two grandchildren, a sister, Dorothy Herr of Kansas City, MO, nephews Michael Herr of Kansas City, MO, Scott Herr of Prospect, OH, Robert Herr of Kansas City, MO and a niece Theresa (Herr) Ireland of Lakeville, MN.  His last words were, “It’s been fun.  Can we do it again tomorrow?”
The family requests memorials to the Olivia’s Angels (BSA Hospice Center) c/o Harrington Cancer Foundation, The American Cancer Society, Marine Corps Toys for Tots and Meals on Wheels.

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