James Nello Thurston Jr. was born August 23, 1962 in Camp Pendleton, Marine Base to James Nello Thurston Sr. and Maureen Thurston (Kieffer).

In 1963 Jim’s family moved back to Eureka. Jim was raised in Ridgewood and made many neighborhood friends. He attended Cutten and Ridgewood Elementary Schools, Winship, Eureka High and Zoe Barnham.

In 1977 when Jim was 16 years old, he was in a motorcycle accident with is best friend, Michael Smith, which put him into a coma. The day he woke up, Michael passed away. Jim sustained lifelong traumatic brain injuries and seizures and was a client at Making Headway Center for Brain Injury in Eureka.

In April 1982 Jim married Jodie Louise Megazzi (then Morrison). They soon started a family; in October 1983 they had their daughter Jera Lynn Thurston and in October 1988, their son James Michael Thurston.

Jim and Jodie later separated in 2002 where he set off on his next adventure to Texas. He spent the last 21 years of his life in different parts of Texas, from Stevensville to Andrews, where his health took a turn for the worst, and he left this world.

Jim loved the outdoors. He spent his younger years commercial fishing in the Humboldt Bay, Astoria OR, and Alaska. When he wasn’t working, you would find him with his friends hunting, fishing, abalone diving, and cutting firewood. These were hobbies he proudly taught his children. He made many great memories with his lifelong friends, Keith Richey, Jerry Gabriel, Brian Frain, Timmy Sjoquist, and the Sjoquist family.

One of the best fishing stories was when he and his uncle Dennis Thurston were fishing off Eureka. The Times-Standard reported Dennis had brought in a 62-pound Pacific halibut and Jim caught a 33-pound salmon. Jim was so upset because he was actually the one who caught the 62-pound Pacific halibut.

Jim is survived by his daughter, Jera Lynn Newland (Thurston), her husband Reynaldo Newland, grandchildren Adriana Newland and Xavien Newland of Eureka; son, James Michael Thurston, his wife Amanda, grandchildren Lolah Thurston, Khylie Thurston, and Allen Thurston of Eureka; daughter, April Dawn Thurston, grandchildren Kaysha Dunn, Brieonna Elias, Leticia Mota, Josiah Mota, Jose Mota III, Ayzlin Mota & Starr Thurston- Hammonds of Kansas; ex-wife Jodie Megazzi of Eureka; siblings, Linda Noble and Edward (Ed) Thurston; cousin, Patrick Thurston, his wife Ruby; and many other cousins.

Jim is preceded in death by his father James Nello Thurston Sr., mother Maureen, maternal and paternal grandparents; many aunts and uncles; best friend Michael Smith; and two-month-old great granddaughter Melani Yvonne, Kaysha’s baby who unexpectedly passed on May 14.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 1 p.m. at Redwood Acres Raceway. Come enjoy libations and food and share your favorite memories of Jim. A private family gathering will be held at a later date to place his cremains.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Jim Thurston’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.