Glenn grew up near Scranton, North Dakota, loved the soil and respected what it provided. He was the eldest son and took on tasks of a grown man when just a boy because of his father’s health issues.
Peggy had 7 sisters, who all herded sheep and could work “as hard as any man but lots better to look at,” as her father Walton Thune was fond of saying. Thunes lived near Ladner, South Dakota.
Peggy, Deb's mom and Sterling's grandma, died 24 years ago at only 59 years old from brain cancer. Yet her influence on her family and community lives on. Peggy only owned 1 saddle in her entire life. It was made at the famous Miles City Saddlery and her dad, Walton, bought it used. Peggy spent thousands of hours riding in that saddle.
She could use a 7 ft sheep hook to catch a running ewe in the pasture while horseback. Peggy was about 5 years old when she started spending weeks living with one of her sisters in a sheep wagon tending to the lambing flocks. As a registered nurse, she cared for hundreds of people. She and daughter Deb took a huge risk and started Preferred Home Health so that rural people could stay on the land they loved as long as possible. This included her husband, Glenn.
Even though he didn’t formally graduate high school because he was needed at home, Glenn was an exceptional mechanic, stockman and visionary. He took risks. Some turned out better than others. Like importing scourable sheep paint when no one else would. Today, Siro-Mark is the standard. Or giving turnips a try as something called a “cover crop” in the 1980s. Glenn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) when he was about 56. He died 4 years later, just 11 months before Peg.
Together, they pioneered sheep production and natural resource conservation techniques, many of which are now considered best practices, but at the time were looked upon with raised eyebrows. They raised registered Rambouillets like most commercial ranches. For more than 30 years, they sold from 350 to 600 range rams every year. Today, son Tim and wife Tracy have further evolved the sheep and ranch.
So much they strived to achieve to help America’s sheep industry has become reality: