Thurston Erickson

January 23, 1971- March 28, 2015

We lost a gentle soul, loved by all who knew him. Thurston Christopher Erickson, 44, died tragically in a motor vehicle accident. He was a kind, sweet, giving man, steady and unselfish, who valued family, friendship and the simpler joys of life.

Thurston, affectionately known as Trout, was the loving and cherished son of Deborah Bixler; the supportive and beloved brother of Hiedi Erickson and Katherine (Erik) Deck; the gentle uncle of Chaz Orozco, Emily Rose and Audrey Deck; the treasured grandson of Lynn Smith; the deeply-loved stepson of Cliff (Lise) Bixler; the nephew and cousin of the many members of a large, affectionate extended family. He was predeceased by his father Timothy Erickson, his grandfather Ray Smith and his step-grandmother Janice Smith.
As a child he was sentimental, loyal, impish, and a constant joy to his family. He was a Santa Cruz native who loved sports, nature, surfing, snowboarding, fishing and shooting. He grew up to be a skilled carpenter, the heart of every crew. He led by example through hard work and excellent craftsmanship, most of that time for his grateful step-father. His quiet demeanor was balanced by a boisterous sense of humor and a jokester streak. He never outgrew his childhood passion for fireworks. He loved the art of pyrotechnics, and took pleasure in dazzling us with his explosive creations.
He excelled at friendship, giving to everyone just what they needed, including a nickname, delivered with humor and compassion. Many of his friends say "he was my best friend". His enigmatic smile belied wisdom beyond his years. He taught us acceptance; he taught us patience; he taught us honesty.

We are proud of Thurston. He gave back to the community by mentoring others, at work and in life, giving steadfast emotional support and encouragement. His caring and compassionate attitude and example fostered inward strength in others.

We wish there would have been many more years to share with Thurston and watch his life unfold. Time won't heal our loss, but neither will it lessen our bond of love for this truly good man. For now, we try to fill the void with memories and stories. A celebration of life was held on the April 18th 2015: Details


Please share a memory or tribute. The best way to do this is to email his mother Deborah. Tributes are shared only with family and friends.
Miss you everyday

Miss you everyday brother see you on the other side.
Thank you Thurston for my beautiful home
Suzan Harnish

In 2003 Thurston, along with his fellow framers, built my dream home. I had quit my job to be on the sight every day - usually a nightmare for contractors - but with Thurston it was such a fun experience. Every day he'd ask me questions about what I wanted, or make suggestions, and we'd make decisions together. (And then I'd stay out of their way... because, boy, did they work hard!)

When it came time for one of the most challenging parts of the project - installing the hand peeled logs for the structure of the stairway - Thurston wanted to do this himself. There was all sorts of custom cutting and weird angles he had to deal with, and he said it was the funnest part of building our house... he didn't usually get such a unique challenge. Well, he sure put his perfection and expertise into it, and to this day, the logs are my favorite thing. He also came up with a beautiful bolt system for the logs which has reminded me of him many times over the years.

This quote I read reminds me of Thurston:
"Sometimes the ones who work the hardest, give the most, are the quietest about what they've done. That's called honor. They inspire the rest of us."

Thurston will be forever memorialized in my beautiful home... and I will forever appreciate him for it.
Such A Treasured Man To All…
Gail Ostendorf

What sadness we are all feeling. A feeling of disbelief. As I reminisce the 6 years that I have known Thurston, I almost feel that I know his family.

He always had such fondness for his family and always expressed what love he had for them. Like his father said, it took him a little time to trust and get to know you but, once he did you realized what a wonderful man he was. He worked on several projects for me but, mainly a large remodel of my home. The contractor that I had hired couldn't start right away and my painter recommended Thurston. The best recommendation I have ever received. I seem to have the reputation of being "too picky".

In the 4 years that we worked together, there was never one single time that we had a cross word! Truly amazing!! He made my project so much fun. When I went to pick out my cabinets, the man asked me what I thought of Thurston. Well did he get glowing compliments from me for at least 10 minutes. The man smiled and said "that is what everyone says about Thurston."

The contractor that I was going to use brought his wife over to see the cottage that Thurston built from just a photo. He said I wanted to show my wife because you just can't find workmanship like this anymore. My cottage will now have a name. "Thurston Cottage".

During the years that Thurston was working on my properties, I noticed that there was a little pattern in his personality. When it was about 6 weeks from the 4th of July he would get very giddy and happy every year. He told me that he just loved to make fireworks. I never knew about his nickname "Trout". I had given him another nickname "Mr. Boom Boom". One day he called and told me "Gail, I just have to tell you this story because it is so funny". He said "I don't use my computer that often but, today when I tried to get on I forgot my password. He looked up his hint and it was "Gail". He said I just couldn't figure out what Gail
meant. All of a sudden he said "I started laughing so hard because I remembered my password. It was Mr. Boom Boom. So for me he will always be Mr. Boom Boom.. An incredibly talented, honest, hardworking, big wonderful teddy bear of a man who loved to make fireworks! Much love to you up in heaven!!! You will be soooo missed but, never forgotten.
Kelly Hurt

Dana Garbo

Dear Deborah and family, Thurston was indeed a gentle soul that will be missed. He was such a generous and sweet man. I am so sorry for your loss. Much Love, Dana Garbo
Sara Puhl

Debbie and Heidi,
although it has been many, many years since we have seen each other the news of Thurston's death was devastating. I remember running around together up in the woods when we were just little children. Please know my prayers and love are with all of you. Rest in Peace
Martha Martine

I am so very sorry for your loss. I just have no words. Pleas know I'm thinking of you.
Big hugs to you.
Kim Jeffery, Encinitas

I didn't know Thurston, but he was a dear friend and mentor to my son, Corey. My heart goes out to all of Thurston's family and friends. Rest In Peace, Thurston.
Thank you Thurston
Caroll Y

Thank you Thurston for your kind and generous ways. Although I knew you from a distance it was a good warm feeling I always felt when I saw you and spoke with you. You added strength and compassion to our Friday group. Your presence has been missed. You made the best coffee ever. I think of you every time I see our coffee pot and draw a cup from it. Your generosity is unmatched especially your heart felt spirit. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and close friends. I know you my friend are in the loving hands of an all loving God who loves us all. You are a special angel helping to prepare a way for those you loved and those who loved you. Thank you Thurston.
Eulogy for my son, Thurston.
Cliff Bixler

I first met Thurston when he was 6. His mom and I got together when he was 8. Deborah, Thurston, Hiedi and I moved several times from house to house, finally settling in Live Oak where Katie was born when he was eleven and where Deborah still lives.

I loved Thurston and Hiedi, read to them and tucked then in every night. A favorite book of theirs was “Wind in the Willows” which my mother gave them. Thurston, was everything I ever wanted in a son. Beautiful boy, strong man with a wonderful sense of humor, huge heart, and loyal to those he loved.

After he graduated from High School he worked with me in construction for most of the rest of his life. I am lucky and grateful that we spent so much time together.

I still remember the first time I put a nail gun in his hand. He was nine. He squeezed the trigger and was it like a charge had gone off. Next thing I knew he was holding back the safety and zinging nails across the yard. Pure Thurston. A sign of things to come.

I would always tell him: life is work and people are work. He got the part about life being work. He excelled at his craft, setting a high bar for the crew with his work ethic and quality standards.
He got the part about people being work too. He learned to lead at work and in life. He was sensitive to life’s pain and would take his time letting you in, keeping an even keel with his expectations in check, so he did not get hurt or disappointed. He was compassionate and did not judge others. He became wise beyond his years, but it was a hard earned wisdom, paid for with love and painful experience. It only endeared him to me all the more.

I was raised by agnostic Unitarians, but when I am lying awake late at night, thinking about you Thurston, I want to say to you, I want to promise you, I will see you on the other side son. Even if it turns out that the other side is only in my dreams.

Brian G

went to the best Giants games ive ever been to with thurston ...ate the best smoked chicken at his my friend are a champ.. go easy my friend.....
Donna Jacobs

I Remember Thurston when he was a young boy in Lompico. He was a sweet kid. So sorry Debbie for all your family.
Kacey, Aptos

My heart goes out to Thurston's family. He was a mentor and great friend to my fiance, Corey. Corey would always come home with the funniest job site stories, always involving Thurston. Thurston would quiz him on band names while they listened to BOB fm. He soon became known as the "Don' don' man" since he would sneakily indulge our puppy, Douglas, with donuts at the jobsite. Douglas would hear his truck coming a mile away and would get so excited. He had a huge heart, an awesome sense of humor, and quick wit. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family. Thurston will never be forgotten.

My deepest condolences on the loss of our friend Thurston. Although I hadn't seen him for quite some time, he made a big impact on my life for the years I was fortunate enough to hang out with him. I will always remember his smile and laugh and his unconditional friendship. I also fondly remember the love and admiration he had for his sister Hiedi and the rest of his family. Not a 4th of July goes by without me thinking of Thurston--running down to the beach with a full backpack and an ear-to-ear grin. I hope that his family finds peace in this situation, I know it's a long road ahead. Love and positive thoughts to all involved.
Mike Dufek

I met Thurston while he was helping his longtime friend "Bony" remodel his houses in Lompico. I live next door and was always amused by their constant banter.Aside from his obvious sense of humor he left no doubt about his carpentry skills but most importantly what a loyal friend he was. I'm grateful for the few years that I knew him.
Mike Dufek
Linda Turpin

I am so very deeply sorry to hear the sad news of Thurston's passing. The enormity of his loss is unimaginable. Over 20 years ago, my family lived around the corner and Deborah and her children were a real treasure--a warm, open, and generous family, down to earth and with great senses of humor. My daughter Ellen and Katie were friends and often took Rufus and Charlie (the dogs) out. My heart and thoughts are with you all. --love, Linda Turpin
shireen sekaves chiu

I was more friends with Heidi years ago (Junior High) but I do remember Thurston my prayers and condolence to the family
Tonya House

Where do I begin? How do you find the words to convey the loss of someone who I haven't seen in 14 years but left such an imprint in my life...I first met Trout after I graduated from Janus in 1998.... I was friends with Hiedi and Sandy and Trout was always around....always happy, always smiling, always encouraging....always and then I worked at Sobriety Works and saw him often....I honestly can't remember ever seeing him in a bad mood or in a funk...for a long while it was Hiedi, Sandy and I.. and always Trout was there somewhere. ....When I got the message from Hiedi I couldn't believe it...why him? He was so good, so kind, so giving.....but then God said "why not him? Look at all of the lives he has touched, look at all of the good he has done" and now he's always there, enjoying his bounty in heaven...
They say " jails, institutions and death.. " that's what addiction gets you, and now after so many years of continuous sobriety he is home, and maybe his death will continue to impact those of us who walk this walk of sobriety, to stay clean and sober one more day....Thanks for the memories Trout, until we meet again...♡♡♡

i was blessed to know you. Your support, friendship and smile were always cherished! Rip Trout your smile will forever be burned in my memories
Bill Kugler

We worked side by side for decades,
often at loggerheads and frustrated with one another,
his stubbornness only surpassed by my own..
22 years his senior and yet he has taught me so much.
I carry a little of Thurston in my heart.
May his wisdom live on in all of us.
Paul Lawton

I've known Thurston for thirty years plus. He was very busy, but I was always happy when he could find time to help me on a job.
I was so very pleased that he had recently rejoined my construction crew full time. He brought a great energy and a great game to our team, and a positive spirit. His artistic design suggestions and finish work were the icing on the cake. I will sorely miss him.
In sorrow I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family.

Paul Lawton
Steve Bixler

My cousin Cliff called last week, and let us know that Thurston had died. It saddened us very much. Although we really didn't know Thurston, we heard lots of good things about him from our Northern California family. Our best thoughts and prayers go out to all his family. He'll be missed.
Steve & Jan Bixler
corey den uijl (corkie)

From the day I met you you brought me nothing but laugher and smiles. You thought me the carpentry trade with patience, tolerance, and love. Everyday I look for you on the freeway because for some reason I would see you on the freeway at least one a week honking at me or telling CoRkie! Out the window. Though you are gone I know you well always be with us watching over us everyday waiting for the day I blow my finger out with my hammer so you can get a good laugh. Err had so many good times together ny friend I will truly miss you thank you for being such an amazing kind hearted person. Rest in peace thursty I love you bro..

Antonio Morici

I was horribly saddened to hear the news about Thurston. I've know him for what must have been 15 years or so. He was always an amazing friend to my brother Dave Hare, who I know relied on Thurston as another brother who was always there for him. We always had laughs, as I worked for the Dodgers, but could still show him some love for his beloved Giants. I'm glad we was able to celebrate a World Series win during his last year of life---as I know he was as happy as any about that. I'll also cherish Thurston for his generosity on a special occasion in my life, as he created a custom-fireworks display on a raft in the ocean--which went off right after I asked my wife to marry me...he helped along with my brother to make for one awesome wedding propos. My wife is still in awe many years later...Thanks again Thurston for being a special presence in my life...You will be sorely missed!...and I'll always think of you when I see fireworks in the sky knowing that you too are enjoying the show!

-Antonio Morici

My only brother I grieve for you and miss you every day. I tell myself how unfair it is that God took you from us and I feel angry, but I know in my heart that you are now an angel looking out for us all. You inspired me to be a better women, friend, and mother and I will never forget that. My heart is heavy and I think of you every day. I am so grateful to have so many great memories of our childhood and feel blessed that I got the time I had with you. I love you trout, those were the last words I spoke to you the day before you left us. My life will never be the same but in honor of your memory I will continue on this path we call life and strive to be half the person that you were. You're forever in my heart.
your sister, Hiedi
Dale Garbo

Dear Thurston, Thank you for always being so kind to my family.... You will be missed !!!
Jeremiah, Valerie, Devin & Ethan Carr

Thurston you will be so missed by our family. He was such a joyful individual who was infectious with his smile. We loved him and will miss him dearly. Our sons Devin and Ethan enjoyed him as our friend, brother and childhood companion. Our love goes out to the family and will cherish our memories of him.
Jeremiah, Valerie, Devin & Ethan Carr
To Thurston's Family

Although I never had the good fortune to meet Thurston in person, I've heard many stories of his love, humor and compassion from Dave Supe Salisbury who spoke so highly of his friend. He is dearly missed by many. My heart goes out to you all as you traverse this difficult road. Be kind and patient with yourselves. Nicky

I will always love you

Thurston, you are sorely missed. Such an amazing outpouring of love from your family and your friends. Your friends have rallied in support of your family and for one another. Such a remarkable tribute to your life - you have touched so many with your kindness, love, genteelness, thoughtfulness, and your love of life: This will always stay with us and we will always remember.