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Friday May 4, 2012

Dr. Raymond THORSTEINSSON O. C., PH.D., F.R.S. C. January 21, 1921 April 23, 2012
Dr. Raymond Thorsteinsson of Calgary, AB passed away at the Foothills Hospital on Monday, April 23, 2012 at the age of 91 years.
Raymond grew up on a farm in the Mountain School District near Wynyard, SK. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1955. He went on to become one of Canada's most honoured geologists. He served his entire professional career with the Geological Survey of Canada. Starting out as a field assistant during the early 1950's, he commenced geological studies in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. At the time this region was one of the least understood geological regions in the world. Initially, his field work was accomplished by dog team, canoe and by foot. Later he pioneered the use of small fixed-wing aircraft, equipped with oversize tires, which could be landed virtually anywhere on the Arctic Islands. This advance resulted in a rapid increase in the geological knowledge and understanding of the Canadian Arctic. His field of specialization included stratigraphy, structural geology and palaeontology. He was a distinguished lecturer and published numerous memoirs, papers and geological maps. Raymond prepared the first detailed geological maps of more than 200,000 square miles in the Arctic Islands. He retrieved many records and artifacts from early Arctic explorers. At the time of his official retirement in 1992 he had completed 39 field seasons mostly in the high Arctic. At the time of his death, he was working on a publication on extinct ostracoderm fishes. He was still making trips to his office as research scientist Emeritus. His many achievements were recognized throughout his professional career. The Founder's Medal, Royal Geographical Society London, was one his most treasured awards which he shared with academic associate and dear friend, Dr. E.T. (Tim) Tozer. Raymond became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989. Raymond enjoyed game bird hunting, particularly with family members and colleagues. He had a love for nature and agriculture. He owned and lovingly restored a Caterpillar tractor that he had acquired at Resolute Bay, N.W.T. Proud of his Icelandic heritage he was one of the founding members of the Leif Eiriksson Icelandic Club of Calgary and in 2001 was awarded an honorary life membership for his dedication over the years.
Ray is survived by his wife Phyllis; son Erik (Mary) Thorsteinsson; daughter Anna (Jason) Dagnall; sisters Thelma (Norman) Lissel, Thora Moir and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife Jean in 1998 (after 54 years of marriage), parents Peter and Elizabeth; sister Lillian Thorlacius and brother Stan.
Our many thanks to the staff at the Foothills Hospital Special Services, Unit 46, for their care, comfort and compassion. Raymond's family would also like to express a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts, prayers, emails, phone calls, flowers and food during this time.
A Celebration of Life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY'S Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary, AB), on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.
If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Parkinson's Society of Southern Alberta, #102, 5636 Burbank Crescent S.E., Calgary, AB T2H 1Z6 Telephone: (403) 243-9901, www.parkinsons-society.org.
In living memory of Raymond Thorsteinsson, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: 1 800 661 1599.

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