James "Jimmy T" Tyler Thurston, Jr., legendary music icon

James Tyler “Jimmy T” Thurston, Jr., 78, a Vermont legendary music icon whose career spanned over 5 decades, passed away at his new home in Goshen, Vermont on Sunday morning, December 15, 2019.

Born in Burlington, VT on February 15, 1941, he was a son of the late James T. Thurston, Sr. and Pearl E. (Durett) Thurston. Jimmy was previously married to the former Sandra Wimble, Maggie Pearo and Dawn McKenzie.

Jimmy attended schools in Waterbury and then went to work in the family painting business with his father. Although Jimmy later founded his own paint contracting business, his true calling was creating music. His very first gigs were calling square dances. Organizers would pick him up from his family’s farm on Loomis Hill in Waterbury Center starting when he was 8 years old. A few years later he was guest performing as “little Jimmy T” with Slim and Ridge Runners out of Stowe at venues in central Vermont. As he got a bit older and after hearing the debut album of the Rolling Stones, Jimmy formed his first band, Jimmy T and the Cobras. Over the following decades, Jimmy’s success as a performer and entertainer grew exponentially with his performances with the Jimmy T Band, Jimmy T and Little Wing, Boogy Beast and most recently, Rip Van Winkle and the Sleepy Hollow Band. He was currently working on a new album yet to be titled. One of his many accomplishments he fondly remembered was placing 3rdin a national Battle of the Bands sponsored by Seagram’s 7, competing against 1500 other bands.

When not performing, Jimmy enjoyed deer hunting and fishing, watching football, boxing and professional bull riding. He was a longtime member of the American Legion.

Jimmy spent his life making music and friendships. As he would say, “Hooty Hoo”!

For those who wish, memorial gifts would be appreciated to Assisting the family is the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury. To send online condolences please visit or the funeral home Facebook page.

Family Information

Jimmy is survived by his children, Vicky “Mushy” Cleland and her husband Ernest “Ernie Ball” Cleland of Alburgh, Jamie Lee Thurston of Nashville, TN, Deborah West and her husband Larry of Summerville, SC; 4 grandchildren, Erin Pearl Raymond and her husband Travis, Derrick Cleland, Stuart Cleland and Kasondra West; 3 great-grandchildren, Landon Oliver, Harmony Cleland, and Peighton West; 2 sisters, Virginia Atwood and her husband Bill Fraties of Essex, and Brenda Viens of North Fayston; his companion, Diane Barker Bent of Goshen; as well as extended family. He was predeceased by 2 brothers, Sidney Thurston and Wendall Thurston.