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1930 - 2017

George “Bruce” Thow, M.D. (S ’62, CRS ’63)

george thow

George “Bruce” Thow, M.D.

George “Bruce” Thow, M.D., F.R.C.S., F.A.C.S., of Bend, Oregon, passed away peacefully at his home in the presence of his loving family on October 6, 2017. He was 87.

A Public Visitation will take place Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:00 AM, followed by a Funeral Service at 12:00PM at New Hope Church, located at 20080 Pinebrook Boulevard in Bend. A Graveside Service will be held at 1:30 PM at Deschutes Memorial Gardens, located at 63875 N. Hwy. 97 in Bend, OR.

Bruce was born March 24, 1930 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of George and Helen “Nell” (Smith) Thow.

Dr. Thow was a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School and completed a Fellowship in General and Colon and Rectal Surgery at Mayo Post-Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, MN.  He served many years as the Department Director of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Carle Clinic Association and Foundation Hospital and was the Founder and Director of Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency Training Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carle Foundation Hospital.  He was also a member of the Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery from 1976 – 1984, serving in various roles.  One of his favorite activities was serving as the team physician for the University of Illinois hockey team.  While living in Champaign, IL, he and his family attended Stratford Park Bible Chapel.

Upon retiring from Carle Clinic in Urbana, IL, in 1985, Dr. Thow joined the Colon and Rectal Surgery Associates, P.A. practice in Chattanooga, TN. Later, he joined the University Surgical Associates of Chattanooga, TN.  It is there that he and his wife were members of First Presbyterian Church, where he enjoyed singing in the choir.  He could often be found on the tennis courts with his men’s club, and his grandchildren.

In 2004, he retired once again, to Bend, OR, to be near family and cherished his time with his children and grandchildren.  A highlight of his week was the Community Bible Study which he attended for many years.

Bruce also loved working in the garden, watching birds and photography.

We will miss his kind, generous and caring spirit, but are comforted by knowing that he is now home in the presence of his Lord and Savior.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Marion (Perry) Thow, of Bend, OR; children Debbie (Derek) Garrett of Bend, OR, Helen Thow of San Diego, CA; Cathy Thow of Bend, OR and daughter-in-law Karen (DuCote) Thow of Lafayette, LA.  He is also survived by five grandchildren Kellen (Kristi) Garrett of Bend, OR; Kallie Garrett of Denver, CO, Kirby Garrett of Washington, D.C., Claire (Thomas) Zak of Baton Rouge, LA and Mason Thow of Lafayette, LA; a sister, Flora Jean Rutherford of Toronto; and brother-in-law Harold Norman of Toronto.  He was preceded in death by his son George Elisha Thow of Lafayette, LA; his parents; and sisters Helen Norman and Isobel Thow.

Memorial contributions in Dr. Thow’s memory may be made to Shepherd’s House – or to Bethlehem Inn –

Deschutes Memorial Chapel and Gardens is honored to serve the family (541) 382-5592. Visit our online register book to send condolences and share treasured memories at or on Facebook at

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