Linda Jane Thurston
Our beloved Linda Jane Thurston (née Bessey), of Canal, NB passed at the young age of 66, after a 36-year battle with MS, at Charlotte County Hospital, St. Stephen on January 15th, 2024, with her loving family by her side.
Our Linda taught us that a life well lived has less to do with ability and more to do with mindset. She was eternally positive, kind, and compassionate. She had an unwavering faith in God. We know that she is blissfully walking amongst the angels and beaming her wide smile down on those she’s left behind to mourn her loss. Linda leaves to mourn, her husband William "Bill", who was her rock and companion throughout life’s journey, her children Amy (Terry Bastarache), of Amherst, NS, and Brett, of Back Bay, NB, granddaughters Marissa and Olivia, and step-grandson Jake. She also leaves behind her Bessey brothers "her boys", Peter (Mary Jane), Brian (Brenda), Ronald (Leona), and David (Angela); as well as new-found brother John Swinden (Jan), whom she did not have the pleasure of meeting in-person but was excited and blessed to have as a bonus brother added in her life. She is also survived by her brothers-in-law, David Williams (Joan), Donald Thurston (Cathy), and Byron Thurston (Cindy), as well as many nieces, nephews, and special cousins. Although there are too many to name, know that each of you held a special place in her heart.
She was predeceased by her father, Ronald Bessey, and her mother Amy (née Bradford). We know they were waiting to greet her with beaming smiles when she crossed from this life. She will also be remembered by her St. George Baptist Church family (where she taught Sunday School and helped where she could for many years); many special friends (special mention to Nicki, Pat, Pam, and Carolyn), and kind neighbours, whom she loved and valued dearly.
Linda was born in Forestville, Quebec in 1957 and was the light of her father’s eye. She spent her early years there, attending a one room school. Later, she attended Bishop’s College School in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where she played hockey and served as "Head Girl" in her senior year. She moved to Fredericton in 1973 and enrolled in the Bachelor of Education program at the University of New Brunswick at the age of 16. One of her professors told her she was the only student to ever sleep through all his classes (front row) and still receive an A. Linda completed her degree at 18, graduating with Distinction, and accepted a teaching position in St. Stephen, NB without knowing where St. Stephen was located. She pulled out a map and drove to the little place where she would begin a 24-year teaching career with her beloved grade one students. Even to date, it was common to hear "Mrs. Thurston!", as she was fondly remembered as a favourite teacher who had a love for hockey (her Toronto Maple Leafs), the Olympics, and World War II history. It was in St. Stephen where she met her love, Bill, at the age of 21. They subsequently moved to St. George and were married in 1982. There they raised their children.
Linda loved being a mother more than anything. She was always on the go, taking many family trips, staying active outdoors, gardening, visiting the camp, making big family meals, hosting hockey pools, and showing up for everyone in every capacity. More than anything, Linda loved time with her family; whether it be a game of cards at home or the cottage, a delicious meal shared, or a sleepover with her precious granddaughters. Being a grandmother was "extra-special" and "indescribable" for her, and her love for them was beyond measure.
She finished her years of teaching at St. George Elementary, before MS robbed her of the capacity to continue. She argued with her neurologist before retirement- "But I only want to teach for ten more years." That was our Linda; determined to the end. Her spirit and energy will forever be cherished. That spirit was recognized publicly in 2014 when Linda and her mother jointly received the "Citizen of the Year" award for the Town of St. George.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all those who provided Linda with invaluable care through-out her illness: the amazing staff at CCH CCU- thank you for your knowledge, kindness, and love for your patients; the St. George EMP, who helped bridge the care whenever needed- especially Krista, who checked-in and always went above and beyond for our family; the special home support staff who really cared for our mama (extra special thanks to Joan, Simone, and Maxine, who always went above and beyond and Linda thought the world of), and to Theresa for always trying to accommodate our last minute scheduling needs these past months.
During the last months of her life, Linda had amazing LPN’s take on the brunt of her home care needs; Mirinda- thank you for being a steady presence, showing up even when it was hard, and dealing with all of the day-to-day management for both Linda and Bill, we couldn’t have done it without you; Bianca- for your kind demeanor, your soft approach, checking-in, and the love you bestowed on our precious mother; and to Karen- you came on short notice, cared enormously, loved our mama, and were there at the very end; and Kayla, for filling in when you could- Mom had a special love for you and always said you treated her like a person and not a patient. She knew you were there to see her on her last day. You all have made it possible for Linda to stay home through the hardest year of her life’s journey. There have been many others who cared for Linda over the years she spent at home, and your help was crucial and won’t be forgotten- thanks to Megan, Meg, Theresa, Shirley (and others). Thank you as well to Kingsway Care Centre for the two respites this year that she enjoyed thoroughly, and where, in true Linda fashion, she made fast friends.
Linda embodied the true meaning of an educator- she taught us the value of living life despite illness and the true capacity of love. Thank you, mama, for being our light in life. You were truly the best. Thank you for being the meaning of home for us.
Arrangements have been entrusted to St. George Funeral Home (506-755-3533) 26 Portage Street, St. George NB. Cremation has taken place. Resting at the St. George Baptist Church, St. George NB with visiting on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. The service will take place from the church on Saturday at 2:00 pm, officiated by Pastor Jason, who deserves special thanks for visiting Linda and providing support to her and our family over the years. Interment at the St. George Rural Cemetery will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Linda’s memory may be made to the MS Society of Canada.
For those unable to attend the funeral service for Linda in person, it will be live streamed and can be viewed at https://youtube.com/live/LInf2jaEHYw?feature=share