Martin F. Thorson


Nov. 25, 1943 - May 10, 2010

On the afternoon of Monday, May 10, 2010, the world lost Martin Thorson - beloved husband, father, grandfather ("Chief") and friend. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the fall of 2008, and was given six months to live. Not being one to sit back, Martin's stub bornness, spirit, sheer determination and the incredible staff at St. Mary's Cancer Center helped him to persevere for more than a year longer.

Martin was born in Los Angeles to Trygve A. and Enid G. Thorson. Trygve "Tryg" was a fire boat captain for the city of Los Angeles and Enid was a homemaker, piano instructor and a primary Sabbath school teacher. Martin was the third of four children - one girl and three boys. Tryg raised his family in Lomita, Calif., just miles from Huntington and Redondo beaches, where Martin would fall in the love with the ocean. Martin became so interested in surfing and sailing that he and his brother, Glenn, built a two-person, wooden sailboat and a long-board surf board out of wood.

Martin graduated from Lynwood Academy in 1962. After pursing his love of physics in college, Martin changed direction to major in accounting and graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1968 from Golden Gate University. In 1969, Martin became a Certified Public Accountant.

On a blind date in June of 1967, Martin met Andrea Charlene Haugen. The two were married on Jan. 28, 1968. After marriage, Martin and Andrea pursued their love of aviation and got their private pilot's licenses together from a retired Navy combat pilot in Oakland. When the cold summers in San Francisco were enough for them, Martin and Andrea moved back to Martin's home town of Los Angeles, where Martin filled various accounting roles for a CPA firm in Beverly Hills, Flying Tiger Airlines and finally landing at White Memorial Medical Center as the vice president for finance. This began Martin's almost 30-year career in the health-care field.

Martin and Andrea moved their young family to Walla Walla in 1983, and he became the CFO at Walla Walla General Hospital. In 1987, Martin became the Chief Financial Officer/Vice President for Finance for a small local health-care marketing firm. Martin served Coffey Communications faithfully for nearly 20 years and was the only non-family member to sit on the company's board of directors. In the last two years of his life, Martin worked in the accounting department at Banner Bank headquarters, where he made many friends and served the department above and beyond expectations.

Martin was raised to give of himself and to serve his community. His love of art and music led him to serve on the Walla Walla Symphony Board, where he served as the board's president. Martin also served on the Walla Walla Country Club board and was elected to serve as president. He served a term on the city of College Place's planning commission. In addition, Martin volunteered time and services at the Christian Aid Center, YWCA and at Dumas Station Wines as it got started.

Living in Walla Walla, Martin and Andrea fell in love with the wine industry. Martin combined his love of art and wine and began carving salad spoon and fork sets out of wine barrel staves. His other loves included golf, music, capturing memories on his ever-present camera, and family gatherings - especially at the Breithaupt's Ranch and Kelly's Cabin in Dayton. Martin had an infectious smile and a twinkle in his eye that rivaled St. Nick. He could be the life of a party, a rock to lean on and a sage who would offer counsel. Anytime he was around, Martin would light up the room with his smile and cheer. Martin loved his family, people, his community, following his grandson's sport achievements and you never saw a prouder grandfather than when his two granddaughters were born.

Martin was preceded in death by his parents, Trygve Enid Thorson; sister and brothers, Elise Cook, Steven Thorson and Glenn Thorson; and favorite aunt, Evelyn Berrigan. He is survived by his wife, Andrea Thorson of Walla Walla; daughter, Sarah Thorson of Walla Walla; son, Spencer Thorson of Walla Walla; son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Marne Thorson of Walla Walla; three grandchildren, Zachary Staudenmaier, Paige Thorson and Finley Thorson, all from Walla Walla; adopted daughters, Ana Biasi of Salem, Ore., and Amity Priore of Walla Walla; sister-in-law, Betty Thorson of Long Beach, Calif.; nephews and nieces, Jay Cook of Los Angles, Renee Graham of Great Falls, Mont., Eric Thorson of Los Angeles, Kristy Thorson of Dallas, Rachel Thorson of Long Beach, Calif., and Brian Thorson of Los Angeles; father- and mother-in-law, Einar and Ellen Haugen of Walla Walla and countless friends, golf buddies, wine makers and community members who will miss him dearly.

Martin's memorial service will be held on Friday, May 21, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the Walla Walla Country Club. A reception celebrating Martin's outstanding life will immediately follow at the Walla Walla Country Club.


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