Shirley Gail Thomsen, 89, peacefully left this world and went to her eternal home in Heaven on November 16th surrounded by her family. Visitation will be held Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. at Northridge Baptist Church, 323 West 23rd Avenue, in Mitchell, SD. The funeral will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 22nd at Northridge Baptist Church, followed by a luncheon. A private graveside service at will follow lunch for immediate family only. Arrangements are under the direction of Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Martha Borchard of Spencer, IA, Shirley had also lost one sister and two brothers. She recently mourned the loss of her husband, Gordon Thomsen, in August 2016. They would have been married 70 years this past September. She is survived by a sister, Joan Price of Bradenton, FL and brother, Howard (Carol) Borchard of Hartley, IA and a number of nieces and nephews.
Grateful for having shared her life are her children: Jackie Morrison (Don Lura) of Mitchell, Suzanne Thomsen, a former resident of Mitchell, currently residing in Tucson, AZ, Bill Thomsen (Julie Fliegel) of Del Mar, CA, Jerry Thomsen (Pam Thomsen) of Mitchell, and Jenny Trom who resides in Columbia, MO. Also saddened by her loss are 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, who all adored “Grandma Shirley.” Regardless of how she was feeling at the time, and until the end of her life, she would perk up and smile whenever they were near.
Shirley was born on a farm near Ashton, Iowa in January of 1928. She attended country schools until junior high and graduated from Spencer High School in Spencer, IA. After her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Gordon, in 1947, the couple operated a farm near Spencer. Within a few years, they moved into town as Gordon began a sales career that would eventually bring them to Mitchell, SD in 1970. A 47 year resident of Mitchell, Mrs. Thomsen worked alongside her husband to help create what was to become Trail King Industries, Inc.
Shirley and her husband were very philanthropic and have generously supported a number of groups in the Mitchell area. The Thomsen Center Archeodome at the Prehistoric Indian Village is a great testament to their commitment to giving to the community. A few of the many projects influenced by the Thomsens include the Abbott House, where Shirley served on the board, and LifeQuest, where she is recognized as a “Spirit of LifeQuest Award” recipient. Most recently, the couple contributed to the Mitchell Performing Arts Center where the band room bears their name.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Abbott House, 317 West Havens Avenue, Mitchell, SD, 57301.