Thurston Gates was born in Lake Crystal, Minnesota and died at his home in Tigard, Oregon. The last several weeks of his life, he was cared for by his loving wife, family, and the staff of Serenity Hospice. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Adair, his three sons – Ted (Paula) of Issaquah, WA, Gary of Tigard, and Doug (Karen) of Renton, WA and his three grandchildren – Kristen, Benjamin, and Jack. He was pre-deceased by his parents Bert and Jean Gates and brothers Glenn, Keith, and Russell. Numerous nieces, nephews, other extended family members, friends and colleagues also share this loss. Thurston's early life was spent on...
Thurston Gates was born in Lake Crystal, Minnesota and died at his home in Tigard, Oregon. The last several weeks of his life, he was cared for by his loving wife, family, and the staff of Serenity Hospice.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Adair, his three sons – Ted (Paula) of Issaquah, WA, Gary of Tigard, and Doug (Karen) of Renton, WA and his three grandchildren – Kristen, Benjamin, and Jack. He was pre-deceased by his parents Bert and Jean Gates and brothers Glenn, Keith, and Russell. Numerous nieces, nephews, other extended family members, friends and colleagues also share this loss.
Thurston's early life was spent on the family farm in Minnesota, in a home without electricity, and with a hand pump in the kitchen for water. What was lacking in amenities was more than made up for by a close, loving family and a tightknit, supportive community.
The trajectory of the family was disrupted in 1934 by the unexpected death of Thurston's father. His mother decided to move the family to Portland to be closer to relatives, so they set off across the country in a 1928 Essex, with Thurston's 15-year old brother Glenn at the wheel.
In Portland, Thurston attended Gregory Heights grade school, Benson High School, and the University of Portland (B.A. 1952), all the while enjoying the friendship and camaraderie of many from the close-knit neighborhood where he lived. The family home was located just off NE Sandy Boulevard, allowing his mother to walk to work at the Shriner's Childrens Hospital. While in college, a part-time job at First National Bank of Portland led to both a 40-year career in banking and a long and loving marriage to his wife, Adair. He first got Adair's attention by shooting rubber bands at the back of her head. She eventually agreed to a date and found a young man of substance, humor, and intelligence – a surprising finding given his crude attention-getting method. They were married in 1952 at Zion Lutheran Church in Portland.
Thurston had a robust professional life in banking, helping numerous individuals, families, and businesses over the course of his career. He was an old-school banker who placed character in equal standing with numbers. And, he was a flawless judge of character and a feisty and loyal advocate for those he judged to be good credit risks. At the time of his retirement, several business leaders and individuals reached out to Thurston in appreciation for his support and partnership in helping make their businesses, and lives, successful. They don't make them like Thurston Gates anymore.
Thurston loved college sports, especially football. He stood 5'2", or 62 inches as he put it, and had only partial use of one arm from birth, but he joined the game with his younger bank colleagues, competing on the bank recreation league basketball team. He particularly enjoyed following Jack Avina's Portland Pilot basketball teams and Rich Brooks-led Oregon Duck football. Team, competition, loyalty.
He and Adair raised three sons and they revelled in their three grandchildren, Kristen, Ben, and Jack. Following in her grandfather's footsteps, Kristen has begun her studies at University of Portland. Ben now looks forward to attending Duck football games with his Dad, Doug. And Jack has been nicknamed "Little Thurston" as family members notice not only similar personality traits but also likes and dislikes.
Thurston loved his family more than anything else. He and Adair were perfect, lifelong companions who faced every challenge with optimism and purpose. He provided his sons with his time and energy, and gave guidance that, while not always followed, turned out to always be "spot on." Through the very end, he continued as an advisor and a guide. His passing leaves a void that cannot ever be filled. Family, support, love.
Organizations that held particular meaning for Thurston are University of Portland 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. Portland, Oregon 97203, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 7000 SW Hampton Suite 101 Portland, OR 97223 503-643-1995. Donations given in his memory would be welcomed and appreciated..
A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 11th at 11:00am at Young's Funeral Home at 11831 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR 97223, followed by a buffet luncheon reception at The Stockpot Broiler at Redtail Golf Course 8200 SW Scholls Ferry Road in Beaverton 97008