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Vernon L. Thorstad

Vernon L. Thorstad

Vernon L. Thorstad, 88, of Spicer, died Monday, August 6th at Carris Health Rice Hospital in Willmar. His memorial service will be held on Monday at 10:30 AM at Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 PM, Sunday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and continue one hour prior to his service on Monday. Burial will be at Terrace Lawn Cemetery in Montevideo.

Vernon Leslie Thorstad was born March 22, 1930, on the family farm east of Hatton, ND to Oscar and Tillie (Tronson) Thorstad. He was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at Norman Lutheran Church in Clifford, ND. He attended Country School-Morgan #2 in Hatton before continuing his education at the Clifford High School.

At age 17, he established Vern's Caf with his sister, while also working for Cargill Elevator Company in Clifford. In 1950, Vern enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served in the Korean War until being honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1953.

He was united in marriage to Phyllis Schmaedeka on January 13, 1956 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clara City. Following their marriage, they lived in Gluek, where Vern continued his work for Cargill. Their union was blessed with five daughters.

In 1959, after moving his family to Maynard, Vern founded Thorstad and Docken Elevator Company, which later became Thorstad Construction Company. Under his leadership, the company flourished across six states and was recognized with several awards for excellence by Butler Mfg.

An active member of the Maynard community, Vern served as charter President of the Maynard Lions Club, was a member of the America Legion Post and Maynard City Council, and presided as Mayor of Maynard for over 20 years. Vern was also a certified Firearm Safety Instructor, who educated local youth about firearms safety for 21 years.

Vern was an avid sportsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, a pastime that often drew him to visit Canada and Alaska. He survived an Alaskan plane crash during one of his many hunting trips, while other adventures included hunts for trophy polar bear and moose.

Upon retirement in 1984, Vern and Phyllis spent the winter months traveling extensively throughout the southern states. They happily shared 46 years of marriage before Phyllis' death in 2002.

On June 7, 2003, Vern married Carol (Pray) Olson. Together they enjoyed traveling, golfing, tinkering in the garage workshop and visiting with friends and family. He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church and the Green Lake Property Owners Association on Indian Beach.

Vern will be remembered for his strong work ethic, kind generosity, good humor, and dedication to his family. He will be greatly missed.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Carol: children: Lorie (Rodney) Grindberg of Fargo, ND, Barbara (Douglas) Holum of Mitchell, SD, Karen (Myron) Moore of Bozeman, MT, Linda (Michael) Erhardt of Pennock, Peggy (Steven Hogenson) Johnson of Sunburg; stepchildren: Mark (Bonita) Olson, Stacie (Gary) Laughlin, Kris Olson all of Willmar, Linda (Tim) Jansen of Maynard; 12 grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild. He is survived by his sister, Lyla Ness of Fergus Falls.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife: Phyllis, son-in-law: Steven Johnson, brother: Kenneth, sisters: Marjorie Wick, Adeline Olson and Dagney Hanson.