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In loving memory of
Eleanor R Thorsen
  • August 20, 1920
  • -
  • June 24, 2016

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Obituary

Eleanor Russell Thorsen passed away peacefully on June 24, 2016.  She was born in Benton Harbor, MI August 20, 1920 to William and Bessie Russell and raised in Champaign, IL where she was the youngest of 5 children.  Her parents, her husband Jack, and 4 older brothers predeceased her.  She graduated from the University of Illinois and was a lifelong member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.  During WWII, she began a courtship with her U of I classmate, John “Jack” Thorsen.  Eleanor and Jack were married in San Francisco November 22, 1944 when he was on leave from the Navy.  They began their lives together in that beautiful city that always held a special place in their hearts.  After the war and because of Jack’s career, Eleanor lived in Rockford, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Scarsdale, NY, and Bloomfield Hills, MI before they moved to their final home in Winter Park, Florida in 1970.  They both embraced the community of Winter Park and enjoyed golf, boating, volunteerism and made many new lifelong friends there.  Eleanor also found a volunteer career at the Winter Park Public Library at its New Leaf Bookstore helping them sort and manage book sales for 25 years until her retirement.  It was a volunteer activity for which she was named Volunteer of the Year for Orange County.  Among many endearing qualities, Eleanor was known for her love of reading, keen intellect, discipline, warmth, directness and humor. She was content in her elder years and grateful for the companionship of her children and grandchildren.  Eleanor will be greatly missed and her memory cherished.  She is survived by her 4 children and their spouses, John (Kathy) Blacksburg, VA; Nancy (Jean), Lynchburg, VA; Jim (Nancy) and Lisa (Walt), both of Weaverville, NC.  She dearly loved her 6 grandchildren (Harper, Anne, David, Ginny, Emily and Mac) and remained close to several nieces and nephews.  The family wishes to extend a special thanks to the staff of the Mayflower Retirement Community for their attentive care of Eleanor in her later years.  In lieu of flowers, the family would request donations be made to the Winter Park Public Library, 460 E. New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 or a charity of your choice. Condolences can be expressed at baldwincremation.com.


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  1. 27 Jul 2016
    Anne Williamson says:
    I will miss Mrs t. the Williamson's and Thorsen's were the best of friends even before the kids were born, their family was our family, so many wonderful memories.
    My heart goes out to Lisa, Nancy, Jim and John and their respective families. Love you guys!!!

  2. 18 Jul 2016
    Renae Bennett says:
    Remembering dear Eleanor with great affection, a wonderful lady! Condolences to Nancy whom I worked with at the library and all of Eleanor's family. - Renae Bennett, Winter Park, Florida.

  3. 08 Jul 2016
    Ginnie Droz says:
    We loved Eleanor. She was a dedicated, loyal supporter of the library and the New Leaf Bookstore. She would sort through lots of donations to their proper places. Many boxes of books she lifted with no complaints. She was volunteering when I started working for Winter Park Library and that was 28 years ago.

  4. 05 Jul 2016
    James Thorsen says:
    I love you, Mom.

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