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Agnes H. Thorstad

December 21, 1913 March 16, 2009
Agnes H. Thorstad
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Obituary for Agnes H. Thorstad
Agnes Helene (Bakken) Thorstad of Frederic, WI, slipped away from us during the evening of Monday, March 16, 2009 at the United Pioneer Home in Luck. She was 95 years old. Agnes was born on Dec. 21, 1913, one of six children to Hannah (Dahl) Bakken and Albert Bakken. She grew up on a farm in Barron County south of Chetek, where she especially liked the wooded bluffs with violets and Arbutus on the hilltops and chokecherries and blackberries in the valleys. Agnes was baptized and confirmed (and eventually married) at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church near Sand Creek, WI. She taught Sunday School for many years and was active in the Luther League. At age 16 she joined her older siblings in church choir. That spring the choir drove to Northfield, MN to take part in Syttende Mai (Norwegian Independence Day) festivities at St. Olaf College. Later their choir would sometimes participate in the Choral Union Concerts at First Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. After graduating from the one-room elementary school that stood on a corner lot on the Bakken family’s own land, Agnes took the two-year high school course then available in Dallas, WI, and then graduated from Barron High School where she was class Salutatorian. Soon after, she graduated from Barron County Normal School at Rice Lake. From 1932 to 1942 she taught in rural elementary schools of Barron County, including the same schoolhouse she’d gone to as a child. She also took summer school sessions in Eau Claire and always attended the annual Teachers’ Conventions there. In 1939 she and her cousin, Gladys traveled by train to the New York World’s Fair. In July of 1942, Agnes married Harold Marlin Thorstad of Rice Lake, WI and the couple moved to Minneapolis to do defense work for the World War II effort. Since gasoline was rationed, the couple didn’t use the car much except for trips back home to Wisconsin, but they rode the streetcars of the Twin Cities and also took long walks. They enjoyed attending many different churches and had many nice times going to plays, concerts and other events with relatives. In 1947 they moved with baby son, Bruce to Rice Lake, WI where they joined Bethany Lutheran Church, and where Harold became an employee of the Home Gas Company, later to become the Texgas Company. In Rice Lake the young family grew as daughter, Merilee and son, Brian were born. In 1962 they moved to Frederic when Harold was promoted as manager of the Texgas LP-Gas Plant. After renting a house on Round Lake for a few months, they moved into their new home in Frederic and joined Pilgrim Lutheran Church on Dec. 1st. Their household on Benson Ave. was the scene of a warm family life, and as the children grew independent, Agnes and Harold enjoyed trips to visit relatives in the West and extended vacations in Florida and Arizona. Agnes was preceded in death by her parents and by her husband, Harold on April 24, 1978. She was preceded in death as well by two brothers and a sister who died in infancy; by brothers, Arvel and Norman Bakken; by sister, Cora Anderson; by sister-in-law, Harriet Bakken; by brothers-in-law, Arthur Anderson and Elmer Van Dorston; and also by two nieces, a nephew and twelve cousins. Survivors include three children, Bruce (wife Ruth) Thorstad, Merilee Thorstad and Brian (wife Donna) Thorstad; and grandchildren, Jesse, Holly and Eric Thorstad. She is also survived by her sister, Ruby Van Dorston and brother, Leland (wife Mildred) Bakken; and by 15 nieces and nephews and six cousins. Funeral services will be held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Frederic, WI, on Friday, March 20th, at 2 p.m. Time for visiting with the family will be held prior to the service beginning at 1:00 p.m. Burial of ashes will be at a private ceremony at Nora Cemetery in Rice Lake. Rowe Funeral Home of Frederic, Wisconsin, was entrusted with funeral arrangements. For information call 715-327-4475.
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