Thor Solberg
1943 - 2017
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Thor Solberg

Whitehouse Station - Thor Solberg Jr., co-owner of Solberg Airport, retired United Airlines pilot, devoted general aviation advocate, Princeton University alum, proud Norwegian, and loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away on December 16, 2017 in Morristown, NJ at age 74.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00am on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at Readington Reformed Church. A celebration of Thor's life will be held in January for those that cannot attend the services this week.

Thor was born August 12, 1943 into an aviation family. His parents, Lorraine and Thor Solberg Sr., founded and operated Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ. He attended Whitehouse and Three Bridges schools and had fond memories of his mother picking him up from school in the airport's dump truck. His summers were often spent traveling to Norway with his father. He attended high school at The Lawrenceville School where he played football, wrestled, and was a state champion pole vaulter. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with honors in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences at Princeton University in 1965.

In 1967, after the death of his father, Thor began a long career training pilots at Solberg Airport. Originally training Norwegian students, the Solberg Aviation flight school is still training pilots from all walks of life today, five decades later. His airline career began in 1969 with a chance interview at United Airlines and ended 34-years later in 2003 when he retired as a captain of Boeing's "queen of the skies", the 747. In that time, he traveled the world, and was able to do what most only dream—to earn a living following his passion.

He met his true love in 1969, a young school teacher named Marilyn Walker. They were married on August 28, 1971 and were inseparable travel companions. Together, they raised two sons, Thor III and Lars, and adored their four grandsons, becoming "Tip-Tip" and "Far-Far" to Thor IV, Lars Jr., Walker and Alistair.

Thor had a never-ending passion for general aviation. In addition to operating Solberg Airport with his sisters, Lorraine Solberg and Suzanne Nagle, he was involved with many aviation professional and advocacy organizations. As an active board member of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), he served a term as Chairman of the Board of Directors, where he was instrumental in their "America's 100 Most Needed Airports" campaign. As a lifelong proponent of flight training, he served as chairman of NATA's Flight Training Committee.

After his retirement from United Airlines, Thor continued to fly corporate aircraft out of Solberg Airport, earning 11 jet type ratings, while working alongside his family to protect their airport and family legacy from the threat of eminent domain. He also loved to spend time with his grandsons, touring the hangar to look at planes, traveling with them to Norway to meet his extended family and even beginning to teach them to fly. His sense of adventure, passion for aviation and family pride will live on through them and his entire family.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Kearns Funeral Home, Whitehouse.

For more details on Thor Solberg's life and charitable donations, please visit

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Courier News on Dec. 20, 2017.
Memorial service
11:00 AM
Readington Reformed Church
Funeral services provided by
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Kearns Funeral Home
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9 entries
February 26, 2018
first solo at Solberg - 1967
Joseph Caro
January 1, 2018
Harry Stocker
December 27, 2017
My sympathies to Thor's family rest in peace.
Jim Ferraiuolo
December 21, 2017
Douglas Miller
December 21, 2017
SUE , I learned to fly at Solberg Thor was always good to me , I will miss him
Edward Smith / aka Gambino
December 21, 2017
Sue, Lorraine, and family. Although I haven't seen Thor in many years l still have fond memories of my flight training at Solberg Airport. That initial training in the late 60's enabled me to have a long career in aviation for over 50 years. I'm truly sorry to hear of his passing.
William Sirotnak
December 21, 2017
Sue and Lorraine, Sorry my condolences.
You are all very smart folks, did he know Christ? He worked at UAL, I was at EAL, until 1982. Got my license at Solberg in 1969 always enjoyed!
rick praskac
December 21, 2017
Sorry to hear that my good friend back in the sixties as a student at the flight school and later when he visited Norway and we had flights together at their airport in Norway. My condolences and sympathies to his family.
Rune Bekkelund
December 20, 2017
So sorry to hear about the passing of Thor. My sympathies to the entire Solberg family.
Brad Freeman
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