Edward Eugene “Gene” Thurston, age 84 of Friendsville, passed away Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at Blount Memorial Hospital. Gene retired from the Federal Highway Administration that helped build the Foothills Parkway and also worked for Blalock and Sons Construction, along with being a major contributor to Smart Fix 40 project. He loved the Top of the World community as well as the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and collecting arrowheads. But most of all, he enjoyed simple time with his family. In his later years he was a quiet and simple man who enjoyed his cats, Leo and Lucy. He loved seeing Georgia win the National Championship and loved watching the Atlanta Braves. Preceded in death by his parents, Douglas and Bertha Thurston; sister, Helen Story; brother, James Thurston. Survived by daughters and son-in-law, Vicki and Jeff Blanken, Shannon Thurston; grandchildren, Nicholas and Ashley Francisco, Douglas Francisco; great-grandchildren, Zayden and Lillian Francisco; several nieces and nephews; special neighbors, Wes and Melanie Spurling and family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Feral Feline Friends of Knoxville at www.feralfelinefriends.org. The family will have a service at a later date. Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, www.SmithFuneralandCremation.com
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