James “Jim” Thorstad, Sr., 1929-2020

James “Jim” Anton Thorstad, Sr., 91, of Chesterton, Ind., passed away Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Chicago, Ill., on May 30, 1929, to LaVerne and Lillian (Braendle) Thorstad.
On July 14, 1951, in Chicago, he married Barbara Kelly. They were married for 67 years until her passing on Oct. 16, 2018. They moved their large family to Chesterton in 1967 from Arlington Heights, Ill. They called Chesterton home and became beloved members of the community.
Jim was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church for many years; he served as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Religious Education Teacher. He was also on the Parish Council and volunteered with many activities at the church, including the Cursillo Teams.
Jim was a chemical engineer for Drew Chemical Corporation, which later became Ashland Oil Company, retiring in 1996. He previously worked at Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Laboratories, where he was actively involved with the development of the intravenous port system. He also worked as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative for Parke Davis. During his career he received numerous awards and recognition for superior sales and outstanding leadership.
Jim was a member of the Chesterton Lions Club for over 50 years and was recently awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award. He was a member of Knights of Columbus, 4th degree Knight. He was also a member of Sons of Norway. He was on the Gift of Water team to purify water in Haiti; he volunteered for six missions there. He volunteered at Sharing Meadows as a counselor for the residents and at the annual Leprechaun Hunt.
Jim and his wife, Barbara, wintered for 20 years in Palmetto, Fla., and traveled extensively with friends to Europe and Hawaii and enjoyed many cruises together.
First and foremost, Jim’s family was the most important part of his life. He enjoyed attending all of the activities of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jim was very outgoing and never met a stranger. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to his caregiver, Ivan Gulenko, and Harbor Light Hospice.
He is survived by sons, James (Lauren) Thorstad, Jr., of Chesterton and John (Laura) Thorstad of Valparaiso, Ind.; daughters, Janice (Daniel) Edquist of La Porte, Ind., Kate “Kitty” Wallace of Valparaiso, Barbara (Phillip) Warwick of Melbourne, Fla., and Patricia Zosso of Chesterton; daughter-in-law, Kathleen (Bob) Hedge of Melbourne, Fla.; sisters-in-law, Patricia Thorstad of Chicago and Patricia Connery of Schaumburg, Ill.; grandchildren, Julie Terhorst; Doug and Craig Hugus; Tim, Chris, Ben, Kelly, Nick, Nate, and Kaitlin Edquist; Natalie Sutton; Tom and Drew Thorstad; Adam and Ryan Thorstad; David, William, Zachary and Robert Hedge; Elizabeth Murphy; Katherine and Sarah Warwick; Paul Wallace; Amelia Lasky; Jillian, Myles and Garrett Evans; and Eric and Evan Thorstad; great-grandchildren, Suzi, Lucy, Colin, Nora, Isaac, Alma, Gavin, Ella, Troy, Sam, Joey, Cora, Mia, Julia, Ethan, Alaina, Lucas, Alexzander, Atlas, Maximus, Cayden, Seton, AnnaLea, Kolbe, Olivia, Owen and Bayne; and many, many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Barbara Thorstad; son, Thomas P. Thorstad and daughter, Susan Hugus; granddaughter, Lara Wallace; brother, Robert C. Thorstad; sisters-in-law, Mary Kelly, Virginia (James) Kindelin and Frances (Russell) Leist; and brother-in-law, Joseph Connery.
Due to current COVID restrictions, the family will be holding a private visitation Friday, Nov. 27, and a private Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, Nov. 28, with Father Nathaniel Edquist officiating and Father Jon Plavcan concelebrating. Burial will take place at Chesterton Cemetery, Chesterton, Ind. Edmonds & Evans Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. A Memorial Mass and celebration of life will be planned for all of Jim’s many friends and extended family and announced at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to The James and Barbara Thorstad Scholarship Fund at St. Patrick Catholic School, 640 N. Calumet Rd., Chesterton, Ind. 46304; Share Foundation With The Handicapped, Inc., P.O. Box 400, Rolling Prairie, Ind. 46371-0400; and/or Harbor Light Hospice, 1229 Arrowhead Ct., Crown Point, Ind. 46307.
Messages of condolence may be posted below on WNLP as well as at www.ee-fh.com.

5 Responses to “James “Jim” Thorstad, Sr., 1929-2020”

  1. Cathy Reese

    Nov 24. 2020

    Jan I’m sorry to hear of your dads passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family.

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    • Lori Schilling-Joyce

      Nov 24. 2020

      I was so sad to hear the news of Jim’s passing. But, now he is in heaven with Barb, Tom, Susan and Lara. What a wonderful boss, friend and person he was. We enjoyed his jokes, stories and beliefs. RIP Jim!

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    • .

      Nov 30. 2020

      Thank you for your kind words, Cathy.

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  2. Chris Smith

    Nov 29. 2020

    I met Jim and Barbara briefly, over forty years ago, through daughter Barb, then again twenty years ago through Jan. On both occasions, I thought that someone ought to write a book about them. Something like, “Cheaper by the Dozen.” With Jim’s passing, the final chapter is concluded, so what are you waiting for? Perhaps one of the kazillion grandkids will take pen to paper and immortalize Jim and family’s adventures. If you do, please send me a copy!

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    • Name (required)

      Nov 30. 2020

      Thank you Chris. You are right. He had a long interesting life and a wonderful legacy of family. Being with any and all of us was his favorite activity.

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