Abner J. Thoreson, 95, of Pelican Rapids

Published 5:54am Monday, January 21, 2013 Updated 8:00am Monday, January 21, 2013

Abner Thoreson, died Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at Pelican Valley Health Center in Pelican Rapids.

Abner was born on April 22, 1917, in Battle Lake, the oldest son of Arthur and Jensine (Ugstad) Thoreson. He grew up in Tordenskjold Township on the family farm and attended country school.

He graduated from Battle Lake High School. After high school he attended Concordia College in Moorhead and Interstate Business College in Fargo.

Through the years he attended several other educational training opportunities.

In October of 1941 he entered the United States Army and completed basic training at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma. During his military career he served at Fort Jackson, S.C., as a 640th Field Artillery Battalion Battery Officer and as a 791st Field Artillery Battalion Reconnaissance Officer.

In 1945 he was honorably discharged from the military as a 1st Lieutenant having served in both the Pacific and European Theaters. Upon returning from the military he went back to work for West Otter Tail Service Coop.

On Nov. 16, 1947, he married Evelyn Olson at Central Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids.

Abner spent 40 years in rural electrification work, bringing electricity to rural areas in South Dakota, northern Minnesota, Brazil and Bangladesh.

During his career he worked for Lake Region Electric Cooperative, Fergus Falls, Grand Electric Cooperative, Bison, S.D., Northern Electric Cooperative, Virginia, Minn., Northern Minnesota Power Association, Grand Rapids, United Power Association, Elk River, and retired from Gilbert/Commonwealth Associates, Jackson, Mich., in 1983.

He spent 24 years as a general manager and 10 years as an International Rural Electrification Consultant. Upon retirement Abner and Evelyn moved to Pelican Rapids.

The work he did brought him much joy and satisfaction, knowing he helped people, including those with low income and those in other countries to have better living conditions. He always included Evelyn as his partner and said “it wouldn’t have happened without her.”

He was currently a member at Faith Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids. Through the years he was an active member of various churches depending on where they were living.

He sang in church choirs and also served on several councils and committees. He was a life member of the V. F. W. and the American Legion. He was also a Rotary Club member in Pelican Rapids, Elk River, and Grand Rapids.

In his early years, he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Virginia and Grand Rapids, Commercial Club in Bison, SD, and the Optimist Club in Virginia, MN. He had a passion both for flying and music. He was a pilot and owned his own plane for 16 years.

He sang in the Orpheon Male Chorus in Fergus Falls, the Arion Male Chorus in Grand Rapids, and the male chorus in Pelican Rapids.

Throughout his lifetime, he was devoted to his family. He was viewed as the “family patriarch,” a constant role model and mentor. He will be missed by his family.

Preceding him in death were his parents; a sister, Vivian Thoreson; brothers, Horace and David Thoreson; and a sister-in-law, Borghild Thoreson.

Survivors include his wife, Evelyn of Pelican Rapids; sister-in-law, Kathryn Thoreson of Mountain Lake Terrace, Wash., and numerous nieces and nephews.

Service: 2 p.m. Monday, at Faith Lutheran Church, Pelican Rapids

Clergy: Revs. Timothy Johnson and Roger Rotvold

Burial: Knollwood Memorial Gardens, Fergus Falls, with military honors provided by the Fergus Falls V.F.W. and American Legion

Funeral Home: Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls


Condolences may be sent online at www.olsonfuneralhome.com

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