Dr. Carl Edwin Thoresen
1933 - 2020
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Dr. Carl Edwin Thoresen
July 22,1933 - October 20, 2020
Resident of Los Gatos, California
Carl Edwin Thoresen was born in San Francisco, California on July 22, 1933. His father Trygve immigrated to the United States and served as a cook in the US Army stationed in the Presidio. Carl lived with his family all over the US prior to college. His mother Ruth was his biggest cheerleader. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1951. He attended University of California, Berkeley, where he rowed for the crew team and earned a A.B. in History Cum Laude in 1955. When Carl was 19, his father passed away of a heart attack, which fueled his lifelong dedication to wellness, nutrition and fitness. In fact, his children's friends would still see him running the streets of Los Gatos until his early 80s!
Carl spent his college summers working in the dining rooms at Yosemite National Park. This is where he met Katherine Armstrong, nicknamed Kay, who was studying education at UC Berkeley. The two married in Yosemite Chapel on June 14, 1958. Carl first worked as a Physical Education teacher, but soon became interested in Psychology. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1964. He then taught at Michigan State for only 2 years before being asked to return to Stanford as an associate professor. He taught at Stanford for 31 years, earning the title of Professor Emeritus in 2000, and carving out a niche in the field of Health Psychology. He worked with many with eating and sleep disorders, and then partnered with Dr. Meyer Friedman of the University of San Francisco to work on the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Project. He also helped establish a Masters program in Health Psychology at Stanford and in later years was a part of the Stanford Forgiveness Project. Carl co-authored nine books in his field, as well as 111 articles and 48 book chapters. He was invited to speak 150 times in the US, Canada, Norway, the Philippines, Italy, Sweden, Finland, West Germany, Ireland and Japan. He presented over 200 papers and conducted 150 workshops. His family enjoyed living in new places in the summers that he served as a visiting professor at Harvard, University of Montana, University of New Mexico, University of Maine, University of Rome, School of Medicine, and University of London, St. George's Medical School. One thing his children remember is how much he loved to learn new things, whether it was a new piece of technology or a new rock and roll song by Foreigner played by his teenage kids riding in the car!
Carl also served on the Board of Directors of Consulting Psychologists' Press (CPP) for over 34 years, the last several of those as the Chair. In 2018, his last year on the board, he helped transition CPP to become the Myers-Briggs Company. Carl was a member of Los Gatos First United Methodist Church and enjoyed leading a men's group there. Carl and Kay celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 14, 2008 at the Los Gatos Opera House amongst family, friends, and their entire original wedding party!
Carl leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Kay, his son Trygve (wife Lisa), two daughters, Kristen Bridgeman (husband Mark) and Amy Goforth (husband Bill), and seven grandchildren: Katie Muckley (husband Brandon), Joe Bridgeman, Will Bridgeman, Sarah Thoresen, Kaitlyn Thoresen, Josh Goforth, and Ashley Goforth. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, "Papa," and friend to those who knew and loved this special man with a zest for life and a listening ear.
Celebration of life to be announced in 2021.
View the online memorial for Carl Edwin Thoresen.


View the online memorial for Dr. Carl Edwin Thoresen



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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 15, 2020.
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November 24, 2020
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Christopher Kenyon
November 17, 2020
Kay, so sorry to hear about Carl's passing. What an amazing life! I can remember seeing him run along the streets in Los Gatos and taking my Total Body Energizer class with you at the gym. Such a wonderful man with a smile that would light up the room! You and your family are in my thoughts.
Laura Braun
Laura Braun
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