Elvera (Vera) L. Thorne
June 4, 1917 – June 22, 2021
Born in Humboldt, Iowa, to Danish immigrants Theodore and Cecile Jensen, Vera was raised on Iowa and Minnesota farms during the Great Depression. She grew up close to her five siblings and loved farm life. She went on to work at Look Magazine in Des Moines before moving to Denver in 1943. While working at Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, she fell in love at first sight with her amazing husband, Bill. They married in 1944 at Messiah Lutheran Church, then on East Colfax. They lived in Alaska for two years when Anchorage was still a pioneer town, then moved to Portland, Oregon, where they gave birth to their daughter, Jan. They then came back to Denver for good.
An amazing homemaker and extremely dedicated Mom, Vera and Bill raised their family -- two sons, Ron and Todd, and daughter Jan -- in Colorado. She was blessed with wonderful twin grandsons, Brian and Jeff Mason. She is survived by her children and grandchildren as well as son-in-law Fred Mason, granddaughter-in-law Fernanda Nieto, and great grandchildren Luciana, Mateo and Tiago. She is also survived by her 96-year-old sister Betty Nyby and was the proud aunt of many incredible nieces and nephews. Her family meant the world to her and was her greatest pride and joy.
Vera led an incredible life of diverse interests and passions. She loved horses, birds, trees, gardens, gardening, antiques, mountains, sunsets, lakes, streams, music, children, and laughter. She was an avid and excellent bowler and played in multiple bowling leagues. Card games, including cribbage, were great fun. She was not a big TV fan, except for PBS and Wheel of Fortune (she was a whiz) and the nightly news. She was blessed to have a sharp mind and an amazing memory throughout her life. Vera enjoyed working at The Carriage Trade Dinner Club and CU Denver when her kids were grown.
Incredibly humble and selfless, she was the epitome of thoughtfulness, compassion and caring. She volunteered at Porter Hospital and Head Start for years. As long as she could drive and write, she visited shut-ins and hospitalized friends, and constantly wrote thank-you, get-well, thinking-of-you, sympathy, Christmas and more cards to her family and abundant number of friends. One friend recently stated that Vera had a PhD in kindness. So true. She genuinely loved her friends, neighbors young and old, her large extended family and all who helped her heal during her hospital and rehab center stays in later years and who visited or reached out to her at home in her final months.
Vera was a person of deep and unwavering faith. She was active at Messiah Lutheran in Denver for decades, until she was no longer able to get out and about. She drove her younger senior citizen friends to church well into her 90s. She loved traditional hymns and kept singing them through her final days, including with dear church friends.
She was a long-time steward of the environment, an original recycler before it was cool or standard practice. She wasted NOTHING, and never hesitated to set an example of that to others. She read the Rocky Mountain News or the Denver Post from cover to cover for decades. She knew current events and knew her civics. Vera loved her country and had her flags out for all the holidays. She also loved her Danish heritage and was a long-time member of the Denver Danes, as well as the Sons of Norway (Bill was a Norske from North Dakota), and Questers antique organization.
She loved food. An avid cook and baker in her earlier days, Vera had an avalanche of recipes. She never lost the appreciation for enjoying and consuming most types of food, always slowly and deliberately. Watching her eat was like experiencing a symphony in slow motion! She stayed in shape as an avid daily walker and bicyclist before switching to a stationary bike in her later years. Being a good Danish Lutheran, she consumed her daily HOT coffee, along with Danish Kringle or LaMar’s glazed donuts. She also enjoyed occasional little shots of schnapps and Coors Light. Perhaps those habits contributed to her longevity. Her family and friends would hasten to add to that: her incredibly loving spirit, contagious smile, huge heart, sly mischievous side, sense of humor, abundant generosity, love of laughter, daily praying and never-ending zest for life!
Her stay on earth ended peacefully in her sleep, in her home with her family. A life well lived!
Celebration of life service: Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 10:45 am. Messiah Lutheran/Community Church/ELCA, 1750 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80220 (messiahdenver.org). Reception to follow at the church. Private interment at Fairmount for immediate family.
Memorial donations to Messiah Lutheran/Community Church, or VOA/Meals on Wheels, 2660 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205 (voacolorado.org).
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Messiah Lutheran/Community Church
1750 Colorado Blvd, Denver CO 80220
Meals on Wheels
2660 Larimer Street, Denver CO 80205