Marlene (Marky) Thorsness January 19, 1932 - March 30, 2022
Our mother’s life began, by her telling at her Uncle Donley’s dairy farm in Minnesota. Her haven from a somewhat difficult childhood. Sometimes the stories would backtrack to “before the farm.” Where she truly knew what hunger was, being the daughter of a rare divorcee/single mother in the 30’s. Struggle. Insecure. Those were words our mother understood. Fast forward to delightful “mayonnaise sandwiches” and collecting eggs in a dark, heavily cobwebbed but warm and full chicken house. Skimming cream from buckets, shared with too many kittens. The haven with unlimited, beautiful food.
Fast forward to the man who saw the beauty in the knobby kneed girl who became our mother. Married then off to Korea, then home again to greet their first daughter, their second a year later. Their third a year and a half later. The awaited boy, two years later. The surprise fifth, another daughter, there to lovingly torment the boy for the next 60 years. The favorite uncle asking if the young parents understood where babies come from. The snappy reply, “Yes. Do you?” (He having had but a single child…). This was our mother’s lust for the life and her sure and steady wit.
A mother of 68 years. A wife ‘til death do us part.’ Supported by a man who knew no ego or machismo, respectful of everyone, man or woman, no matter. A white knight with no armor or need for recognition. A wife to match. The foundation of our family.
For 15 years or thereabouts, after kids were out in the world. Marky became a significant presence in the then smaller “family” of realtors in La Plata County. Her contemporaries recognized and praised her work ethic, her meticulousness, her infallible honesty, which led to lifelong friendships. She coddled her clients as though they were her own and it resulted in her hard earned success as an agent. She retired and set out on many adventures with her compass usually pointed to Norway. A country she exposed as many grandchildren to as she could, to help shape them and share her love of it. She was also an artist and author, profoundly influenced by her life on the farm and Viking legends.
Marky died at daybreak on her beloved Daybreak Ranch, outside of Durango at 90 years of age, having been born in 1932. Her husband of 43 years, John Thorsness, died in 1994, leaving her the task of legacy and leadership of their 5 children and 12 grandchildren. She was predeceased by her grandson, Ryley Sherman, at the tender age of 16 and most recently, her eldest daughter, Melinda Becher, at the age of 67. She leaves behind the 3 daughters (Melissa Sansoni, Heidi Thorsness, Martha Teal), and their husbands, (Ron, Alan, Dusty and Melinda’s husband, Rick) as well as her son, (Peter Thorsness), and his wife, (Mary). Also surviving Marky are her 11 grandchildren*, 9 great grandchildren**, and her second, loving and caring husband of 9 years, Joel Fleming.
One could never take the farm out of Marky. She had an open heart and an open home for all, human and animal alike, and a deep love for the land. She’s out there running barefoot and happy now, cool wind whipping her wild hair…
*Marky’s Grandchildren in order of appearance:
Erika (Sansoni) Newby
**Marky’s Great Grandchildren in order of appearance:
Eric (Wugun) Connor
Rooster (Wugun) Connor
A Memorial Service will be held later this year. Please, in lieu of flowers, feel free to make memorial donations to the charity of your choice with Marky in your hearts and mind.