Thorleifson in World War 2.
The Lake Stevens community has suffered yet another loss with the passing of long-time resident George Thorleifson who died peacefully in his sleep due to complications from a recent surgery on May 23, 2012. Thorleifson was 94 years old. He was born on November 14, 1917 in Victoria, B.C. Canada.
Thorleifson was known for his great love of family. He met and married his wife Edna in 1946. She passed away in 2008. They had three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The Thorleifsons first settled in Edmonds where all three children graduated from Edmonds High School. After his retirement from teaching, George and Edna moved to Silvana where they enjoyed being grandparents to their five grandchildren.
When the oldest was to start high school in Lake Stevens, George and Edna moved just a few blocks from Lake Stevens High School. That was in 1989.
Soon after moving to Lake Stevens, he became a member of the Lake Stevens Lions Club and American Legion Post 181, where he continued to serve until his death.
“We met when I joined the Lions Club and I knew right away that this was a good man. Later when Kathy and I moved to 32nd Street we found out he was one of our neighbors,” past President of the Lions Club and American Legion Post 181 member Ron McEntire said. “We were also in the American Legion together. He was career Navy and he achieved the rank of Captain in his retirement. He said they kept giving him ranks so he just kept taking it. We know he was a teacher and a farmer. He was also an avid golfer and gardener. Only quit golfing sometime after 90!”
Neighbor Kathy McEntire remembers how young Thorleifson seemed.
“When we first met him and Ron told me he was in his late eighties I thought Ron was kidding me,” she said. “He was a sweet, gentle soul, always had a kind word, a hug and a smile. The world is a much sadder place without him.”
Thorleifson had a great sense of humor and was loved by all of those who knew him.
“Today we say goodbye to one of the sweetest, kindest of men here on earth. George was a friend as soon as you were introduced to him and he loved to smile and laugh; his smile so sweet and gentle,” fellow Lions Club member Tonya Christoffersen said. “I met George through the Lake Stevens Lions Club and in the typical George fashion; he started to share with me what it is to be a Lion. He also shared how we should live for today, love our family and friends, and live with no regrets. He truly was a gentle spirit who really believed there is good in all mankind.”
Thorleifson was known for his energy, even as he closed in on a century of life.
“George lived a very full life and up until a few years ago he was an active golfer and enjoyed a good game on a regular basis. I envy those that live a full and complete life beyond retirement and he was one of the few that really did. George also knitted! I have a hat I will cherish even more that George had made for me a few years ago and I was so impressed that he had taken up knitting,” Christoffersen remembered. “But that was what George did; he filled his life with knowledge and the yearning to learn more. He loved sitting with his wife Edna and knitting, or for their morning coffee. Quite the pair those two!”
Thorleifson graduated from Ballard High School in 1936 and Pacific Lutheran College in 1942. He played baseball and football throughout high school and college. He served in the United States Navy during World War II in the South Pacific.
“Heaven received a blessing today when God opened his welcoming arms for George. He will always be smiling…and then he will turn to you and say, ‘Be sure to smile today, because it looks good on you,’” Christoffersen said.
A public memorial service was held on May 29 at Snohomish United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Snohomish United Methodist Church, the Lake Stevens Lions Club, The American Legion, or a favorite charity.