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Garfield M. "Gar" Thorsrud


1928 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Garfield M. "Gar" Thorsrud Obituary
Garfield M. "Gar" Thorsrud On November 23, 2014, Gar left the loving and caring arms of his family to join those of Jesus and loved ones who have gone before. Gar was born on a farm, near Watford City, ND on February 20, 1928 to Norwegian immigrant homesteaders Mikkel S. and Gunhild (Landmark) Thorsrud, the youngest of five children. When Gar was eight years old, the family moved to Missoula, MT where he attended school and graduated from the University of Montana in 1951. Gar and Audrey Olson were married on December 27, 1951 in Billings, MT. At age 16, Gar began seasonal employment with the U.S. Forest Service on blister rust and fire crews until he became a smokejumper in 1946. He continued jumping seasonally as he worked his way through college. This experience led to distinguished government and leadership service for over 30 years. He also received his "wings" in 1955 and flew in both the Montana and D.C. Air National Guard Units. He served his country well. Upon government retirement, Gar founded Mountain West Aviation in 1975, which later became Sierra Pacific Airlines, serving as its president until his death. Gar loved his family, his many, many lifelong friends and this country. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Jennie Coombs and three brothers, Sverre, Edwin and Edgar. Survivors include his wife, Audrey; a daughter, Lynn (Clifford) Nystrom; two sons, Erik (Cathy) and Mark (Shanna); five grandchildren, Mark (Lisa), Ann (Pete) Realmuto, Lauren (Joe) Martinez, Tanner and Riley Thorsrud; three great-grandchildren, Kalli, Hunter and Austin Realmuto; two step-great-grandchildren, Summer and Josh Martinez; brother-in-law, Allan (Pat) Olson and several nieces and nephews. The family suggests memorial gifts to: National Smokejumper Assoc. (Memorial Fund) 10 Judy Lane, Chico, CA 95926; Museum of Mountain Flying, 713 S. 3rd St., W. Missoula, MT 59801; St. Mark's UMC, 1431 W. Magee Rd., Tucson, AZ 85704 or an organization of one's choice. Gar's life will be celebrated at St. Mark's United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at10:30 a.m., Reception to follow afterwards. Arrangements by ADAIR FUNERAL HOMES, Avalon Chapel.
Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Nov. 30, 2014
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