Dr. Bernard Mason “Bernie” Thurlow was born July 15, 1939, in Leavenworth, Washington, to Frank and Lucile C. Norris Thurlow, and passed away May 28, 2023, due to health complications.
He grew up on the Thurlow Ranch, in the Methow Valley, that his grandfather Mason homesteaded in 1887. Bernard graduated from Twisp High School in 1957. He enjoyed music and band and belonged to the FFA.
After high school, he attended Washington State University (WSU), played drums for the ROTC band, earning a degree in animal science. Then he went on to earn a degree in veterinary medicine in 1964. While at WSU was a member of the Kappa Veterinary Honor Society.
He met his wife, Dianne, in September 1963 at WSU. They were married on Oct. 10, 1964.
After graduating from WSU, he joined the U.S. Army, traveling to Chicago, Illinois, and San Antonio, Texas. After basic training, he was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, serving there with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp for two years. His duties were caring for sentry dogs at missile bases and food inspection. He remained in the Army reserves until 1974.
He worked for five years for the USDA in disease control, living in Hermiston, Oregon. While there he was successful in finding better care for stray dogs, including shelter, food, veterinary care, and a place for owners to find their lost pets.
In 1972, Bernard and Dianne, with their four young children, moved back to the Thurlow Ranch. His parents needed help.
Bernard practiced veterinary medicine, took care of irrigation infrastructure, irrigated hay fields, and put up hay. He took care of the cattle herd and rode after cattle on the range. He built and maintained miles of fence, trails, and water developments on his family’s Libby Creek C and H grazing allotment, in use and maintained since 1906. We are grateful to all the people who have worked here and helped us with all of the work.
His parents and Bernard helped his community to bring television to the Methow Valley in 1955. Much has changed with communications since that time.
When Dr. Dan DeWeert moved to the Methow Valley, Bernard was very happy to have Dr. Dan here, as Bernard had so much work to do on the ranch.
Bernard loved to garden, he loved ham radio, and he belonged to several ham radio groups. He belonged to the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington State Veterinary Medicine Association, and the Washington Farm Bureau.
Most of all, Bernard loved to visit with people and tell stories.
Bernard was a dedicated, caring, caretaker of family, young and elderly. He cared for his mother, Lucile, for almost 10 years after her stroke. He also cared for Dianne’s grandfather for 2 1/2years. They had a good time together, eating dinner, visiting, and Bernard carried calves into the house for Dianne’s grandfather to see.
Bernard is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lucile Thurlow, a baby sister, his daughter Tami Thurlow, aunts, uncles, and cousin Jerry Anderson. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Dianne Gilbert Thurlow, son Sean Thurlow, son Ernie Thurlow (Linh), daughter Suzanne Thurlow (Joe) and four grandchildren, Domenic and Christi Ricci and Benjamin and Mai Thurlow.
Graveside services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 24, 2023. at Beaver Creek Cemetery.
Please donate to WSU School of Veterinary Medicine, or a charity of your choice.