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Founder member of Richmond band Thor passes away

Jimmy Coletsis passed away recently, age 61, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer
Thor co-founder Jimmy Coletsis (centre) with fellow band members at a recent reunion

One of the best known faces in Richmond’s tight, local music scene has passed away, age 61.

Jimmy Coletsis – one of the founder members of Thor – recently lost his long-term fight with pancreatic cancer.

Guitarist Coletsis was the one who thought of the name Thor when the high school rock band formed back in the ‘70s, along with bass player Brad Kilburn and drummer Martin Tanaka.

The band was a fixture at the city’s high school dance circuit and at Steveston Salmon Festivals across two decades before they eventually went their separate ways.

For Coletsis, however, music was his life, taking him all over the world with his London-based band Jimmy C and the Blues Dragons.

He returned several times though for Thor reunions over the years, gigs that sold out within a day or two.

“It’s hard to talk about a close friend who has passed before his time, but the first thing that comes to mind about Jimmy has to be that he changed my life,” Thor bass player Kilburn told the Richmond News.

“He was influential and pivotal in my life from the time we were both 12. I became a bass player, thanks entirely to Jimmy.

“He instilled a love of music in me that continues to this day, and has been one of my life's greatest joys.”

Kilburn said Coletsis was “a blues man known for his broad smile and wild curls, but most importantly as an incredible guitarist.

“As an artist he was happy to let others shine, and to support his fellow musicians. Nothing made him happier.

“Needless to say, positivity followed him wherever he went, and rubbed off on all those whose lives he touched.”

Kilburn told how he was due to go to London last year to visit family and jam with Coletsis on their 60th birthdays, before the pandemic hit.

Sadly, added Kilburn, that’s when Coletsis’ cancer returned.

“Jimmy was so loved and will be sorely missed, not just by his wife, children, father, and siblings and their families, but also by his very large, extended, international musical family, dear friends on both sides of the Atlantic, and by those of us who had played with him since we were young teens: Johhny Fatiaki, Martin Tanaka, Steve Braithwaite, and me.”

Coletsis’ sister, Maria, said her brother was in and out of hospital a lot lately and was “always cold.”

“I started making blankets for Jimmy with my images of nature to warm him and bring the outdoors to him,” she told the News.

“It brought him so much joy that I started an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to make and donate blankets to others.

“I reached my goal and I will be donating 100 blankets to Richmond long term care homes and BC Children’s Hospital’s Ronald McDonald house.”

To help with the campaign, go to