Students in classes like home economics learn skills that stay with them all their lives.
The young women, and the few young men, who attended home economics classes in Payson between the 1970s and mid-1980s learned those skills from Ann Thorne. She came to Payson at the very end of 1970 and started teaching a reading class for high school students when the new semester started in January 1971. Later she taught high school home ec., then went to the junior high -- as it was known then -- to teach the course.
"I became a teacher because I admired teachers, especially Mr. McQuerrey and Miss Tedrow," Thorne said. Stafford McQuerrey was Thorne's first-grade teacher in central Oklahoma, and many years later her father-in-law.
She cannot remember Miss Tedrow's first name, "We never used their first names," she said. "She was probably the most influential though. She taught my seventh- and eighth-grade classes and I had her for English in high school. I also took piano lessons from her at her home."
Thorne began teaching in Stroud, Okla. in 1952, her first class was third grade, then she taught at the junior high school.
If a young person interested in becoming a teacher came to her today, she said the advice she'd give them would be, "Teach in the lower grades. Kids are more responsive. They want to learn."
Her health forced an early retirement at the end of the first semester of the 1988-1989 school year.
Since leaving the work force, Thorne has been able to travel. She has been on a Caribbean cruise, visited Alaska and Hawaii and toured the southeast on a train trip.
She also enjoys fishing at Roosevelt Lake in the cooler months and on the Rim in the summer. Another favorite hobby is bingo at Mazatzal Casino.
Name: Ann Thorne
Occupation: Retired school teacher.
Employer: Before retirement, Payson Unified School District.
Birthplace: Brentwood, Ark.
Family: Husband, Clay; four daughters, one stepdaughter, four stepsons; and 15 grandchildren.
Personal motto: It's a great life if you don't weaken.
Inspiration: My parents, Frances and Albert Odell and my first-grade teacher, S.T. McQuerrey.
Greatest feat: My children.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Traveling, fishing and bingo.
Three words that describe me best are ... In constant motion.
I don't want to brag but ... I'm enjoying life immensely and hope to continue to do so for many more years.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: George Washington because of all the experimental farming he did at Mount Vernon.
Luxury defined: A cruise.
Dream vacation: A cruise to Australia and New Zealand.
Why Payson? We'd traveled through it and liked it and then we (she and her first husband) were offered jobs here by the high school principal, Harold Bull, an old friend.