December 15, 1945 Sunderland, England – February 23, 2018 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
Ray Thurston passed away quietly on February 23, 2018 surrounded by family and love after a fierce battle with cancer.
Born to Harry and Gladys Thurston in 1945, Ray grew up in Southwick, part of Sunderland, in the northeast of England with his sister Avis. After school, Ray worked in the local coal mine, but decided to continue studying at the Open University. In 1966 Ray met the love of his live Kathleen Beautiman, and on March 15, 1969 they got married at St. Mathews Vicarage in Silksworth. He then went to work at ICI as a journeyman pipe fitter. With the move to ICI, Ray and Kathleen moved to Guisborough, a small town on the Yorkshire moors. While in Guisborough Ray got his first West Highland terrier, called Kyltie. Richard and Iain, their sons, soon followed to round out the happy family.
In the summer of 1981, Ray and Kathleen started out on an adventure to the wilds of Northern Alberta, landing on a grass runway with their boys and Kyltie the dog in tow. Fort McMurray was their new home.
Hired as a Shutdown Planning Supervisor, Ray was an active part of the Syncrude Canada community until his retirement in 2003. Always a team, Ray and Kathleen were deeply involved in developing Fort McMurray Youth Soccer in the 80s and 90s, with Ray coaching countless indoor and outdoor teams at the community and Provincial level and Kathleen being his biggest cheerleader!
A long-time supporter of Sunderland AFC, Ray attended the 1973 cup final where Sunderland beat Leeds United. When Sunderland moved to their new home, Ray purchased his own brick in the Stadium of Light. While “the lads” had theirs ups and downs, he was with them to the end.
Pining for warmer climes, Ray and Kathleen moved down Highway 63 to the community of Fort Saskatchewan in 2003. Quickly they became part of the community and became heavily involved in the Historical Society of Fort Saskatchewan. Ray joined the board of the Historical society. An integral part of the society he helped realize the building of the re-creation of the Old Fort on the original site.
Ray will be sorely missed by his wife of 49 years, Kathleen; his son Richard, his wife Lorraine and their son, Erik of Snoqualmie, WA; and his son Iain, his wife Alina, and their son, Zachary, of Newmarket, ON; and by his dear sister Avis Isaacs of Ram-at Gan, Israel, and nieces Sharon and Debbie, and nephew Dudi. He is also survived by loving in-laws, nieces, nephews and a host of long-time friends and players he coached.
We will miss Ray immensely. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, coach and friend to so many. He lived a life of community service and involvement. May we continue his legacy through our deeds and adventures to the best of our abilities.
We will celebrate the journey of his life on Wednesday February 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Fort Saskatchewan Community Baptist Church at 7810 95a Ave, Fort Saskatchewan, AB.
Ray chose to be cremated and a private family interment will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Edmonton Humane Society would make Ray happy.
Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences
Sincere condolences to your family, “Coach Ray” as we knew him was a great leader and respectful to the kids he coached in soccer, my son. Ryan being one of them 10 years ago. It was a pleasure to have known him.
Jim and Sue Broderick
Kathleen, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We will miss Ray very much. Was always so great talking about the dogs, the yard, sports. He was a beautiful man and we were blessed to have shared some time with him.