Dr Steve Thorson died in Saanich Peninsula Hospital on 1 February 2005 after a long struggle with various illnesses.
He was born in Winnipeg, where his father worked as a cartoonist. In 1936 his father accepted work in Hollywood for Disney, and thereafter Steve was educated in a naval academy and Hollywood High School. In 1943 he returned to Canada to join the RCAF and train as a fighter pilot. He qualified as a pilot and received his wings and a commission, but the Second World War ended before he had an opportunity to put his training to work in the skies. Once released from the air force he enrolled in the University of Manitoba and obtained a BSc and an MD. After internship he started a solo general practice in Surrey, BC, and, in company with a few other doctors, had his own medical office built not far from the Surrey Memorial Hospital. In due course he traveled with his first wife, Molly, to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where he completed a 3-year residency in internal medicine. Subsequently, he became senior resident in medicine at the Vancouver General Hospital. A year later, he passed the examinations of the Royal College of Medicine, Canada, and was invited to join the Department of Medicine at the Vancouver General Hospital.
Steve’s first wife died in 1983, leaving him with three children. He subsequently married Dorothy, who shared in the work of rearing his three children. In time his eyesight began to fail and he developed diabetes mellitus. In spite of the limitations imposed by these complaints he became a keen yachtsman, and with Dorothy to keep a lookout he motored about the Strait of Georgia. On retiring from the practice of medicine he moved to Sidney and bought a house overlooking the sea.
Steve was proud of his Viking ancestry. He also took an interest in German military affairs and learned to speak German. He collected memorabilia of the German army, including the various gradations of the Iron Cross and a reproduction of the Ordre Pour le Merite (the Blue Max) as well as military helmets and weapons. He professed a curious liking for German military music and never hesitated to play recordings of marches for visitors.
He kept a collection of his father’s cartoons, one of which he claimed was the original sketch of Snow White, drawn by his father from the young woman who served his morning coffee during his days in Winnipeg.
—A.G. (Jerry) Richards, MD
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