NEW MILFORD, N.J., and BOLTON LANDING — Henry John Patrick Thurnau died peacefully Feb. 6, 2014, at Albany Stratton VA Medical Center after an eight-month battle with cancer.

Henry was born March 17, 1950, in Teaneck, N.J., son of the late Henry J. Thurnau Jr. and Helen M. Thurnau.

Henry grew up in New Milford, N.J., and was a graduate of New Milford High School. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, then lived in the San Francisco area. He moved back East in the mid-1970s and worked as a longshoreman in Bayonne, N.J. His brother Christopher brought him to Bolton Landing, where he settled in the early 1980s and owned a home since 1987. He enjoyed his work as a caretaker at Bixby Farm and other properties. Most recently, he worked for New York state as a caregiver in a home for women with special needs. He did his best to enhance the quality of life of those in his charge.

Henry enjoyed his life in Bolton, a peaceful and friendly small town where he came to know and be known by most of the residents. He was laid-back, seldom in a hurry and happy to share a cup of coffee and a chat with his good neighbors and friends. He was very interested in the history of the Adirondack region and would share stories of the places he visited. He liked hunting and fishing and took great pride in the care of his property.

Henry retired last year with plans of touring the country on his motorcycle. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed last summer with and finally succumbed to very aggressive malignant melanoma. He received excellent care at Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, where he spent his last weeks in hospice. He was gracious and uncomplaining, and he refused to entertain negativity, stress, sadness, fuss or bother. He enjoyed the visits and phone calls of old friends and family members.

The eldest of seven siblings, he is survived by his sisters, Mary Thurnau of Colebrook, Conn., Anne Wahl and her husband, Douglas, of Randleman, N.C., and Helen McIlwain and her husband, James, of River Edge, N.J.; and brothers Peter Thurnau, Thomas Thurnau and his wife, Lisa, of Northvale, N.J., and Christopher Thurnau of Madison, Wis.

A future gathering to celebrate Henry’s life will be planned at the family’s convenience.

(2) comments


I was saddened to hear of Henry's passing. I worked with Henry, in the group home, for 10 years. He was an interesting man and we all enjoyed his stories of his travels. Last summer my husband and I were riding our motorcycles,and who pulls up next to us on his new bike but,Henry. We chatted for a while and made plans to ride together. My husband stopped by to see Henry at his house last summer. That was the last I had heard from him. RIP Henry...ride on my friend.


I worked a short while with Henry and he was a very good worker. He did his job well and treated the individuals he worked with, with compassion and dignity. Rest in Peace Henry..

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