Donna Thoreson – Obit

Donna Marie Thoreson, 81, of Climax, MN, passed away early Thursday morning, August 12, 2021, in Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, with her family at her side.

Donna was born in Crookston, MN on August 15, 1939, the oldest of three children of the union of Kermit and Margaret (Bushy) Ostgard. She was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1957. Donna then attended Aaker’s Business School in Grand Forks. On May 11, 1958, she was united in marriage to the love of her life, Leon Thoreson, of Climax. The ceremony took place in Sharon Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, and the newlyweds settled on their farmstead in Roome Township, rural Climax. Their marriage of 63 years would be blessed by the births of Tami, John, Eric, and Vance, whom they raised in a loving, Christian home. For many years until their retirement, Donna worked side by side with Leon on the farm.

Donna was a devoted member of the Sand Hill Lutheran Church, where she served as President of WELCA, among other offices, and taught Sunday school for many years. She was also a lifelong quilter and loved to gift quilts to family and friends. She and Leon were passionate about giving back and volunteered at the Climax Food Shelf for many years to serve others in need. Donna was also a longtime Volunteer Reader for the Climax Elementary School and enjoyed being with “her kids” throughout the school year.  In addition to her volunteer efforts, Donna loved attending games, concerts and school events for her family.

Leon and Donna spent many happy years enjoying the outdoors. They loved to go camping, hiking, and biking, especially at Scenic and Itasca state parks, paddling many miles in their canoe. She had an adventurous spirit, even willing to ride a mule through the Grand Canyon on one of their visits.

They also had a real passion for birding, maintaining feeders for the many species of birds looking for a meal in their backyard. Along with Leon, Donna was a skilled birdwatcher and together they contributed many years to the Crookston Christmas Bird Count.

Crafting was another passion of Donna’s and she made sure when her family got together there were more than enough supplies and great ideas to keep the young ones occupied for hours on end. This became part of her legacy of love as children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren all made wonderful memories during their annual summer vacation for 17 years. When it came time for everyone to leave for their homes after family celebrations, Donna made sure that each of the children got a special “Grandma Bag” of materials and treats to occupy them during the long drive home.

Donna will be forever loved and deeply missed by Leon, her soul-mate and best friend for over 63 years; their four children: Tami Tronnes and her husband, Jamie, of Nielsville, MN, John Thoreson of Cedar Rapids, IA, Eric Thoreson and his wife, Tami, of Dayton, MN, and Vance Thoreson and his wife, Cheryl, of Climax, MN; 13 grandchildren: Michelle (Brian) Jund, Brittany Tronnes, Jeffrey Thoreson, Kyle Thoreson, Casey (Adam) Martin, Shana Thoreson (fiancé, Ryan Brown), Logan Thoreson, Levi Thoreson (fiancé, Madeline Kuta), Heidi (Ronny) Reitmeier, Heather (Robert) Gaumond, Marie Thoreson, Megan Thoreson, and Sarah Thoreson; and 5 great-grandchildren: Nick, Allie, and Matthew Jund, and Flynn and Sutton Martin. She also leaves her former daughter-in-law, Kari Grimm; brother, Kenneth Ostgard and his wife, Claudia Moreno Guzman, of Mexico; brother-in-law, Orland Thoreson and his wife, Maxine, of Rochester, MN; stepbrothers, Sherman Plante and wife Jean, Larry Plante, stepsister, Bonnie Won and husband Ernie; and many nieces and nephews, extended family, and a host of friends.

Preceding Donna in death are her parents, Kermit and Margaret Ostgard; her stepmother, Lucy Ostgard; her son John’s fiancé, Amy Banowetz; sister, Benita Rud and her husband, Ken; sister-in-law, Pat Ostgard (Kenneth’s first wife); parents-in-law, Eddie and Clara Thoreson; sister-in-law, Lavonne Johnson and her husband, Omar; and brother-in-law, Orlie Thoreson and his wives: Shirley, Pat, and Margie. Blessed be the memory of Donna Marie Thoreson.

Donna’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service held to honor her at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, August 21, 2021, in the Sand Hill Lutheran Church, rural Climax, MN, with Pastor Christie Meier, officiating. Visitation with the family will be on Friday, August 20th, from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston, concluding with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service and time of memory sharing. Visitation will continue at the Church on Saturday for one hour prior to the service.
All in attendance are asked by the Thoreson family to please wear masks.

Both of the services will be live-streamed by logging on to 10 minutes before the scheduled start and going to the bottom of Donna’s obituary page to click on the prompt to view.

The Thoreson family would like to give special thanks to the nurses of Altru Hospital for the care shown to their beloved wife, mom, grandma, and great-grandma.

Online registry and messages of condolence may be made at