Died: Sun., Jul. 12, 2020

Virtual Service

1:00 PM Sat., Jul. 18, 2020
Location: PRIVATE

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Listening, loving, being present, having empathy, demonstrating strength and humility at the same time -- these are the unsung gifts of our beloved, Sallie M. Thruston 




Sallie Mae (Luney)Thruston, the youngest daughter of the late Ernest and Florence (Pyles) Luney, was born on January 17, 1933 in Irvington, Kentucky, where she grew up with her five brothers, Chester (deceased), George (deceased), Percy (deceased), Ernest Jr (deceased) and LeRoy along with her only sister, Evelyn (deceased). Being 19 years younger than her oldest brother, Sallie was affectionately known by her older siblings as “the baby”.  


Growing up in a Christian home and having loving parents that were active in their church and their community, Sallie was led to accept Christ at an early age as a member of Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in Irvington, Kentucky.  This is where she began her life-long Christian service in church ministries. In addition to attending Sunday school and the worship service, she served as president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship, member of the youth usher board, church choir and was a district youth representative to “The Lexington Conference”. Sallie attended and graduated from Hardinsburg Training School in 1950. She went on to Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky graduating in 1955, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.  In1970, she earned a Master’s of Science in Education from Indiana University.


While in high school, Sallie’s older brothers introduced her to their friend, the late Edsel A. Thruston, who, at that time, was attending Kentucky State College. After his graduation in 1950, Edsel made a point to remain close to the Luney brothers and Kentucky State College until Sallie graduated from college. It was just a few months later when he proposed and she accepted at a White Castle fast food restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana.  On November 19, 1955, Sallie and Edsel were wedded in holy matrimony at her parent’s home in Irvington, Kentucky -- a union that lasted 62 years before Edsel’s passing.  Together, they had four beautiful children, April, Wanda, Timothy (deceased) and Gayle.


Following their wedding, Sallie joined her husband in his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. Shortly after moving to Owensboro, she began her teaching career in the nearby town of Calhoun, Kentucky. In 1958, after a short year and a half of teaching, Edsel and Sallie moved to Indianapolis, where they made their home, raised their family and remained for the rest of their lives.  


In Indianapolis, Sallie taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools for nearly ten years. In 1968 she was offered and accepted a teaching position at Crooked Creek Elementary School in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, where she was that school’s first African American teacher. Sallie taught at Crooked Creek until she retired 28 years later. From the many, many stories told by Sallie’s students, she was as tough of a teacher as she was loving. Her favorite students were the most vulnerable that needed her extra loving attention. She believed that if her students couldn’t learn the way she taught, she would teach the way they learned. 


As faithful servants to the Lord, Sallie, Edsel and their family became members of Barnes United Methodist Church when they first moved to Indianapolis. They remained active in Barnes until they transferred their membership to University United Methodist Church in 1972.  A precedent that began during her childhood, Sallie became very active in nearly every aspect of the church. She taught Church School for more than 25 years, served as chairperson of Vacation Bible School, coordinated the Acolytes and led the United Methodist Youth Fellowship while her girls were involved. In addition to serving children and youth, she also served in University in many other capacities. She served as Church Council president, president of the United Methodist Women, Christian Education, the Live Wires Senior Women’s group and the board of the Lucille Raines House. She also sang in the Women’s Choir. Monthly, during church service, she worked as a Communion and Offering Steward. 


As a loving wife, mother and grandmother, Sallie cared for, encouraged and supported all of the varying endeavors of her loving husband, her three daughters who she would call “Sallie’s girls” and her twelve grandchildren. Sallie supported her husband’s love of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by hosting and serving many, many meals to the Alpha brothers in their home, when Edsel served as the fraternity president. She also was very active with the Alpha Wives. Together, they were active with the Indianapolis Chapter of the Kentucky State University Alumni Association. In addition to helping with the daughters’ and grandchildren's schoolwork, she attended as many dance and sporting events of her daughters and grandchildren as possible.   


For nearly the last 20 years, Edsel and Sallie’s girls slowly became her caretakers due to the development and slow progression of Alzheimer's disease. Three years ago, because of its progression, her daughters made an executive decision to place her in Robin’s Run Senior Living Memory Care Unit, where she could receive the care she needed, and ease the pressure from their dad. During her final three and a half months, she had not seen her daughters due to the COVID-19 closure except through a once a week FaceTime call. Three weeks ago, she suffered a stroke. Realizing she would not heal from the effects of the stroke and having end stage Alzheimer’s, her daughters granted her wish and decided to take her back to the loving home that she and Edsel created and let her peacefully join the love her life and their son in heaven with her daughters at her side.   


Peacefully, Sallie departed from this life on Sunday July 12, 2020 at the age of eighty-seven years. Sallie was preceded in death by her husband, Edsel Artois and son, Timothy Maurice.  She leaves to cherish, her daughters, April (Donald) Oldham, Dr. Wanda Thruston, and Gayle (Joseph) Fields;  one nephew/son Adrian (Carolyn) Smiley; twelve grandchildren; seven great grandchildren, her brother, LeRoy Luney,  an adopted Kenyan family that affectionately knew her as “Grandma”, along with an abundance of nieces, nephews, and a host of extended family and friends.


To God, she was a good and faithful servant; to her husband, she honored her vows and loved him as much as he loved her, and to her daughters, she was the wind beneath their wings. Sallie was a quiet, yet a strong woman of faith who brought love and respect to everyone she encountered. She was a living testament to the splendor and peace that comes with living a Godly life through an abundance of love for and service to others. She will be greatly missed, but her spirit will live on within the many lives she touched.


Humbly Submitted,  The Family


Services: Saturday, July 18, 2020, 1 pm EST Due to COVID-19, we will have a virtual visitation and service that can be viewed via YouTube.

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If you would like to make a monetary contribution, the family requests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in her memory.

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Condolence Booklet

kariuki Murage
   Posted Wed July 15, 2020

Grand Pedestal Basket was sent by Kariuki Peter Murage.

To the Thurston Family, Please accept our condolences. Grandma as we all know her has a special place in the hearts of the Murage family. There was nothing random about her acts of kindness. Both grandpa and grandma taught us what it means to be generous, loving and more so welcoming to strangers. These are memories we will continue to treasure. Sincerely, Murage Family

kariuki Murage
   Posted Wed July 15, 2020

Tree of Life Tribute was sent by Kariuki Peter Murage.

Barbara PIerce
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020

White Callas was sent by Barb, Megan, and Paige.

Dear Wanda and Family, We are so sorry for the loss of your mom and grandmom. Please know that we are thinking of you and love you. Barb, Megan, and Paige

Theresa Berghoff
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
Mrs Thruston once told me that on tough days she would think of a beautiful place where the ocean met the the sky. I hope that is where she rests with all her loved ones.
Our condolences to the Thruston Family, and her Crooked Creek Family.
The Berghoffs

Jerry Little
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
I had the privilege of knowing and teaching with Sallie at Crooked Creek. I was also fortunate to have her teach one of my sons, Seth. She was a true lady, role model, and excellent teacher. She was kind and treated all the kids as if they were her own. I was also lucky to have coached her grandson, Donald, at North Central. A great family. I was blessed to have known and worked with her. I will keep the family in my prayers. Coach Jerry Little

Margaret Byrne
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020

Peruvian Dish Garden was sent by Mazda Midwest Region.

With deepest sympathy, from all your friends at Mazda Midwest Region

Stacey and Stephen Moore
   Posted Sat July 18, 2020
Our deepest condolences to the family in the loss of a wonderful mother, wife, grandmother, and genuine Christian.
We are with you and lift the family up in prayer.
Peace and strength,
Stacey and Stephen Moore

Alice Steppe
   Posted Sat July 18, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to a life of faith! God bless her family. April, you must have inherited your Mother’s teachings skills and patience, The Steppe Murphy children were the beneficiaries of that!

Patrick J Murphy
   Posted Sat July 18, 2020
Dear Mrs. Oldham,
Your mother gave you a wonderful example of grace in your life. We are grateful for your help to our children. Your mother has blessed them.
Pat Murphy

Kenneth Crowder
   Posted Sat July 18, 2020
My prayers are with the Thruston and Oldham Family. Please except my sympathies.
From the Crowder family.

Kenneth, Sharron, and Kenneth II

Wambui Jane Murage
   Posted Sat July 18, 2020
Though am feeling sad am also grateful and thankful to have met such a wonderful and loving woman who was laid to rest today. It has been difficult to find words to express my feelings and gratitude. Being new in a foreign country and finding a family that opens their hands to you and yours is not easy. Yet I found that jewel in Sallie Thruston and her family. Thank you grandma and grandpa. Enjoy your time in heaven till we meet again.

   Posted Sun July 19, 2020
To Gayle, Joe and the Thruston Family,
We extend our deepest sympathy during the loss of Mrs. Thruston. We know that God's Grace in time will ease your pain of loss and replace it with joy that she was in your life.
Praying for you all.
Spyder and Liz Morrison

Douglas and Regenia Griswold
   Posted Sun July 19, 2020
You and your sisters remain in our thoughts and prayers as you mourn the loss of your beloved mother. I hope that it brings you comfort that she has been reunited with the love of her life, Mr. Thruston, and your brother.

We wish you God's comfort and peace. Let us know whether there is anything we can do to assist when you returnn from Indianapolis.

Mr & Mrs. Jonathan & Desiree' Brooks
   Posted Fri July 24, 2020
My condolences to the family on the loss of a dear mother and community leader. We will truly miss Sally, a phenomenal woman who shared her beacon of light for all others to follow and see. She will forever be remembered as a gracious woman of integrity and favor that showered her love on all those she encountered. May God continue to richly bless your family and the wonderful legacy of a life well lived.
Humbly submitted.

Mr & Mrs. Jonathan & Desiree' Brooks
   Posted Fri July 24, 2020
My condolences to the family on the loss of a dear mother and community leader. We will truly miss Sallie, a phenomenal woman who shared her beacon of light for all others to follow and see. She will forever be remembered as a gracious woman of integrity and favor that showered her love on all those she encountered. May God continue to richly bless your family and the wonderful legacy of a life well lived.
Humbly submitted.

Services: Saturday, July 18, 2020, 1 pm EST Due to COVID-19, we will have a virtual visitation and service that can be viewed via YouTube. Main Link: Backup Link:

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