Donald Julius Thorsen was born to Paul and Eva Hatch Thorsen on the family farm six miles east and one-half mile south of Gordon, Neb., on Dec. 24, 1923. Don’s father came to the United States as a Danish immigrant with his brother Niels in January 1911. They settled in a Danish community near Gordon. Donald and his siblings rode horses each day to attend a small country school close to the original Thorsen homestead. Donald attended Gordon High School and Gordon Bible College.
Donald was married to Marian Anita Barger on Aug. 6, 1950, and treasured over 66 years of marriage. To this union was born four children: Donna Line, Arvada, Colo., Clara Cohen, Boise, Idaho, Clark Thorsen, Gordon, Neb., and Robert Thorsen, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
After graduation from high school, Donald worked with his dad on the family farm. He began working for Guy Leith on his farm/ranch operation after marriage. Don eventually bought the farm and invested his years in the farm/ranch business, diversifying in crops and animal management as seemed appropriate over the years. The children particularly remember the years their dad raised potatoes, working and enjoying hours together cutting the potatoes, planting, harvesting and grading potatoes with local support.
Don attended the Gordon First Church of God in Gordon all of his life. Of greatest importance to him was that his children and grandchildren “love the Lord.” By neighbors and friends, Don was said to have the “kindred and gentle spirit of Christ.”
Donald and Marian were proud supporters of their children in their academic, athletic and vocational pursuits. He took family on vacation each summer for a number of years. These vacations are the events his children remember most fondly.
For many years on most Friday nights, Donald could be found playing ping pong with neighbors and children. He loved this game and played with skill.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Eva Thorsen, sister Esther Mae Norris and brother Dwight Thorsen. He is survived by his sister Dorothy Bruce, children Donna Line, Clara Cohen and husband Ross, Clark Thorsen and Robert Thorsen and wife Lori, grandchildren Breton Line, Brandon Line and wife Vera, Benton Line, Parker Jessen, Ariel Cohen, Isabella Cohen, Cassie Banks and husband Tyler, Andrew Thorsen, Joel Thorsen, Clara Thorsen, Lily Thorsen and Zebulon Thorsen, great-grandchildren Jonas Line, Henry Line, Hadley Banks, Nixon Banks, Atreyu Thorsen and Angelina Thorsen.
Donald Thorsen died at his home on Dec. 22, 2016, surrounded by the love of his wife Marian, son, best friend and business partner Clark Thorsen and the peace and calm of his grandson Parker Jessen who read the Bible and prayed for his grandpa in the hours before his grandpa closed his eyes to sleep for the last time. Don, Dad and Grandpa will be greatly missed by family, friends and neighbors.
Family, friends, neighbors and community are invited to a memorial service to celebrate the life of Donald Thorsen on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at 3 p.m., Gordon First Church of God. A time will be offered to share memories and written stories and memories are requested by the family. A meal will be served following the service.