Father of Michelle Hayes and father-in-law to Sam Hayes, George Thurman was born as the second son to a wealthy Arkansas cotton farming family in 1926. Since he did not stand to inherit much nor was he expected to run the family farm, George enlisted to fight in World War Two and fought in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. While he was away his elder brother Elroy was killed in a car accident, leaving him as the one who would run the family farm.
Shortly after returning from the war he married the daughter of one of his father’s associates, Vivian Dodd. George and Vivian had three children, with Michelle being the last, born when George was 41 years old. Vivian died of lung cancer a month before Michelle’s 18th birthday, and never met her granddaughter, Sarah.
In the early days of the Fall George’s business associate, Pat Garrison, made his way to George’s farm. While he was there a herd of dead ones came up the highway, and George stayed behind to defend his home from the swarm, giving Pat and the workers time to escape. Thought to be dead by Pat, George actually survived for days in the basement of his burnt and collapsed house, until he was able to escape. Soon he met up with Easton Porter, , , and Barbara Conway, who founded the Pinnacle Mountain settlement together.