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Paul Edward Thorbjornsen
April 14, 1932 ~ May 8, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
Paul E. Thorbjornsen died on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Paul was born in Evanston, IL on April 14, 1932 to parents Martha (Anderson) and Paul Thorbjornsen. The family moved from Chicago, IL to build a farm in Fishtrap, WI (now Winter) while Paul was a very young toddler and his love of farming seemed to grow as he did. From a one room schoolhouse in Fishtrap, Paul went on to graduate from Winter High School in 1950. The 1950 Prince’s Pine, in the Senior Class Poem, included the line, “A quiet, bashful boy is Paul; He is as pleasant as he is tall.” Paul’s quiet and steady presence would remain with him all his life. The “Senior Prophecy” was written by visitors returning to their old home town of Winter. Its first paragraph included the visitors asking two farmers for directions, one of which was Paul Thorbjornsen. His uncanny sense of direction, memory of all Winter history, and love of farming (even though he would go on to a different career) did indeed provide a picture of the future! After graduation, some work in Montana and a few years in the Army, Paul moved to Chicago, IL. He began at Illinois Bell (now AT&T) where he joined the IBEW and worked as a Communication Serviceman. Paul married Ruth Ekman (of Winter, WI) on November 2, 1957 in Chicago, where they made their home. In the early 1960’s, Paul and Ruth moved to Buffalo Grove, IL where their three children were raised. The family spent many vacations traveling to most of the states as well as frequent trips to the homestead in Winter. Paul was an active member of the Buffalo Grove Lions Club and began a long time of service with the Air Force National Guard.
While living in Buffalo Grove, and after moving back to Winter, Paul enjoyed being able to farm when visiting his cousin Norman and his son Paul in Fairchild, WI. In 1987, after Paul and Ruth retired early, they moved back up to a new home on Lake Winter. Most of the home was built by Paul with much assistance from Ruth and his son. Paul became an active member of the American Legion Post 303 in Winter continuing his service to country and community. Paul was honored to be able to place flags at the Winter Cemetery along with the brass nameplates at the Memorial. Paul and Ruth attended Zion Lutheran Church upon their return to Winter and then the Winter Free Church where Paul had attended growing up. Helpful and active neighbors, Paul and Ruth could often be seen working and helping others. They enjoyed traveling across the country visiting family and even spent a few years as “snow birds” in Florida. During the Florida excursions, their bassett hound, Brandon, would stay with Ruth’s brother George in Minnesota. This was a familiar place as Paul would help George on his farm during warmer months.
While Paul enjoyed a long life, relatively free of illness, he was hospitalized in November 2022 in Ladysmith. After a time in rehab, he went to Chicago with his daughter Joy. This was a blessing to all as he spent the holidays and time with Joy, son Paul and grandchildren Cameron and Sonja. He was able to then spend a month in Oklahoma with his daughter Jan, her husband Jeff and grandchildren Joshua and Jordan. Near the end of February, Paul was hospitalized in Oklahoma and then entered hospice care. The hospice center was in a beautiful remodeled farmhouse and on March 8, he left that farm for his eternal home. Paul is survived by children Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates, Paul Thorbjornsen Jr., and Jan (Jeff) Easley. He has four grandchildren, Cameron (Anne), Joshua, Sonja, and Jordan and nieces Jill and Karen. Paul is also survived by relatives Margaret Benson (Norman d.), Eunice, Arnold, Karen, and Paul.
Paul was preceded in death by his wife Ruth, his parents, aunt Ruth, siblings Dorothy and Arthur, and son-in-law Donald.
Interment will be open and held on Monday, May 22, 2023 at Noon at the Winter Cemetery.