Thurston Allen Gates

February 29, 1928December 1, 2010

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


  • Memorial Service Saturday, December 11, 2010
  • Reception Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thurston Allen Gates

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John Gray

December 24, 2010

I only knew Thurston through Ducks football, as I sat in Row 56, Seat 3, and Thurston typically sat in Row 57, Seat 1 of our section with Ted and Doug. He was a fine gentleman, and I'll miss seeing him at Ducks games. I'm glad he lived long enough to watch the Ducks establish a record for the longest winning streak in team history against UW. Rest in Peace, Thurston.


December 11, 2010

My sympathy goes out to the family. I am so sorry for your loss. May your fond memories of him lighten your holidays.

Melinda Bales

December 10, 2010

The lose of a loved one is always very difficult, but especially hard during the Holiday season. Our family members have the fondest memories of Thurston. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. GO DUCKS!
Love, Harley, Dan, Karen and Melinda

Alan Quesnel

December 8, 2010

Adair and family - Fom the Quesnel clan up in Alaska, we all feel a heart felt ache at the passing of Thurston. Fullerton, CA, will always be the special times in our hearts with the Gates family. Our sympathies and hugs belong to you and the loving family around you. We will all miss Thurston. Love from Alan & Chriee Quesnel

December 7, 2010

Our deepest condolences. We will miss Thurstons great stories and hearing his jokes. We are glad we got to know him.
Bert and Larry Swearingen

David Stromberg

December 6, 2010

I'll always remember talking Duck football with Thurston.The Gates family would always invite me to Thanksgiving and that was ALWAYS an enjoyable time. Take care.

Laverne Imori

December 6, 2010

My deepest condolences to all of you. Based on a recent conversation with Ted, it sounds like Thurston passed on with the same dignity and grace which he exhibited throughout his life. Love to you all.

Julie Kerssen

December 6, 2010

Thurston will be missed. My thoughts are with your family.

Staff of Young's Funeral Home

December 5, 2010

Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.

December 3, 2010

We have many great memories of time spent with Thurston and Adair. He was the greatest storyteller and we enjoyed his many tales about their early married life, the banking business, the Oregon Ducks, etc. We also remember when they shared their home with my parents and I after my mom broke her hip. He was always a very hospitable host and so much fun to be around! We will miss him so much but remember him with love. So sorry that we cannot be there at the service to honor his memory.

Marilyn and David