Theodore Winton Thorson

July 17, 1922 ~ October 29, 2018 (age 96)

Theodore W. (Ted) Thorson, 96, of Bemidji, MN died Monday, October 29, 2018 at Neilson Place, Bemidji.

Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, November 3, 2018 at First Lutheran Church, Bemidji, with Pastor Linnea Papke-Larson officiating.  Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church.  Inurnment will be in Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemetery, Little Falls, MN. Arrangements were entrusted to the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji.

Ted was born July 17, 1922 in Crookston, MN to Theodore (T.W.) and Lillian Thorson.  He attended Crookston Public Schools, graduating in 1940.  He attended the University of North Dakota for two years and then enlisted to serve his country in World War II.  Ted was a Marine Air Corps pilot, serving as an instructor in PBY Sea Rescue Operations and a transport pilot in the Pacific Zone.  After the war he returned to UND, graduating in 1948.

Soon after graduating, Ted married the love of his life, Margaret Anderson, at Manfred, ND. They moved to Perham, MN where he taught instrumental music for two years. In 1950, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he was a Graduate Assistant Director of the marching band, receiving a Master’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education. Ted was band director and instrumental music teacher at Edgerton, WI from 1950-1954.  He then enrolled at Northwestern University at Evanston, IL for graduate study and while there was an instructor of instrumental music and Director of Field Services for Northwestern School of Music.  He received a PH.D. in Music Education from Northwestern. From 1961-1966, Ted was Chairman of Music Education and band director at Millikin University in Decatur, IL.  In 1966, he came to Bemidji State College as Director of Bands. During his time at Bemidji State he was the director of the Bemidji Summer Music Camp.  The summer band and orchestra camp saw much growth in numbers and popularity under his direction.

After his retirement from BSU in 1984, Ted served a term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Ted was active in community and music organizations and was frequently elected to positions of leadership. In addition to many such positions, he served 8 years on the Bemidji School Board. He was an active member of First Lutheran Church.

Ted was a loving and devoted husband and family man and had many interests. He was known for his collections of antique wind-up phonographs, sheet music and records. He enjoyed poetry, reading, travel and attending auctions to seek items for his collections. He favored golf, and for 20 years sponsored a fun-filled golf tournament for family and BSU friends.  For many years, he and Margaret took pleasure in spending winters in Oro Valley, AZ.

Ted is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Margaret, sons Robert (Kristine) of Storrs, CT, Leif (Katherine) of St Anthony, MN, Erik of Bemidji, MN, Thor (Kimm) of Brainerd, MN, daughter Ingrid (Peter) Koller of N. St. Paul, MN; daughter-in-law Carolyn Thorson, Bemidji, MN, 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren and brother Keith (Martha) Thorson of Tucson, AZ.  He was preceded in death by his parents, sons Ted Jr and James, sister Marilyn Thorson Sodd and daughter-in-law Kimberly Thorson.

Memorials may be directed to First Lutheran Church or to the Ted Thorson Music Scholarship at Bemidji State University. 

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