Thomas E. Torseth, 91, of Baraboo, formally of Minnesota, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, at SSM Health-St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo.Tom was born on Aug. 5, 1926, to John and Alvilda (Rognerud) Torseth in International Falls, Minnesota. After meeting the love of his life on a blind date, Tom shared 67 years of wedded bliss with his bride, Beverly. Affectionately known as “Torchy” by friends and family alike, Tom was an innovator and an artist. After serving briefly with the US Navy, he returned home to attend the Minneapolis School of Art and Design. He then continued to work in the family business with Jack, his dad, until Berg-Torseth, Inc. was sold. As a businessman, Tom was involved with the Lake Elmo Lions Club, St. Paul 49er’s, and St. Paul Rotary Club. After 43 years of running the family business, he retired in Lakeland Shores, Minnesota and Rio Verde, Arizona before moving to Baraboo in late 2015.
With a flair for storytelling and a knack for playful elaboration, Tom always had a tale to tell. Among his most entertaining accounts were memories of perfect spring days working at the farmhouse in Lake Elmo, summer nights spent being with family at the North Shore, autumn mornings hunting in Montana, and escaping the winter blues by golfing in Arizona. Across all of his stories were themes of friendship, family, and a deep, understated admiration for those around him.
Torchy was an avid reader, though his meticulously organized collection of volumes consisted solely of grilling cookbooks, appliance manuals, and hardware catalogues. He spent hours in his workshop “making sawdust.” His workshop was crammed with a striking mix of power tools and paintbrushes. The process of bringing ideas to life was perhaps what meant most to Torchy, whether that was in art, business, or family.
In many ways, Tom refused to give in to the idea of growing old. He had a ceaseless desire to learn; he faced the transition from floppy disk to the cloud with stubborn enthusiasm and was determined to stay ahead of the “old man curve.” He loved as fiercely as he studied, and played as hard as he worked. Torchy had a big personality, a big heart, and led a big and beautiful life.
Thomas is survived by his wife, Beverly; children, Kim (Bill Conroy) Torseth of St. Paul and Amy (Tim) Teelin of Baraboo; as well as his many grandchildren and great grandchildren, including Thomas N. Torseth Jr. and his daughter Tianna, Stephanie (Timo Gee) Torseth and their children Alex, Aren, and Amari, Andi (Tony) and Jason Krunnfusz, Joe and Erin Conroy; and extended family, Antoinette (Donald) Brady and their daughter Isabella, and Jordan Jensen. He is also survived by his siblings, John (Julie) Torseth, Delores Hodgson, Arthur (Joanne) Torseth, and James (Cara) Torseth. Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, John and Alvilda; his son, Thomas N. Torseth Sr.; and mother-and father-in-law, Leslie and Margaret Larson.
A Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 at the First Presbyterian Church, 416 Ash St., in Baraboo, with Pastor Lisa Newberry officiating. Visitation will be at the church on Thursday from 10 a.m. until time of service. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Torchy’s honor to Habitat for Humanity: www.habitat.org/donate. The Rago-Baldwin Funeral Home, 520 East St., Baraboo, is assisting the family with arrangements.