Gary John Thorstad Profile Photo
1949 Gary J. Thorstad 2023

Gary John Thorstad

August 5, 1949 — January 26, 2023


Gary passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 26, 2023 at the age of 73. His courageous battle with ALS showed us all how to live with grace, dignity, and humor as he battled this horrible disease. Through it all his gorgeous blue eyes twinkled with love and mischief.

Gary John Thorstad, son of Irene Deloris (Nelson) and Myles John Thorstad, was born on August 5, 1949 in Spartanburg South Carolina. He was baptized in South Carolina and confirmed at Lands Lutheran Church in Hoffman.

Gary attended Hoffman High School and graduated in 1967.  He also attended Alexandria Technical School, University of MN Morris and Capella University.

Gary joined the U.S. Army where he was proud to have served for 21 years, 6 months and 11 days where he obtained the rank of First Sergeant. He was stationed in Vietnam, Hawaii, Korea, Washington DC, Fort Dix, Fort Campbell, Fort Benning, Minneapolis, Panama, and Berlin Germany.

He was married to Liz Brisco in 1979 in Panama. They were blessed with their son, Alex John Thorstad. They were later divorced.

After retiring from the military, Gary returned to school for Computer Science and subsequently worked for Morris Electronics, Minnewaska Schools and as a Senior Systems Engineer at Schwan’s Food Service.

Gary met his life partner, Debbie Mollenhauer, in 2011 and they filled their lives with family, travel, camping, and laughter.

Gary had a penchant for adventure - whether that was camping, hopping on his bright, blue motorcycle, diving, and boating. Alternatively, he had an intellectual side where he was absolutely fascinated with family history, topography, politics, and world history. There was never a dull moment with his infamous “huzzah” karate chop.

Gary will be remembered for his kind and gentle nature. He had the ability to laugh at himself, loved solving world problems over a morning coffee, and was always available to help someone in need. Also, a little-known fact, is that during his military training he became quite adept at making sure all the cans in the pantry were facing one direction. And he did all this with a smile and sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes.

Left to cherish his memory is his son Alex, life partner Debbie Mollenhauer, brother Keith (Madella) Thorstad, sister Karen (Lowell) Moser, sister-in-law Sylvia (Leroy) Thorstad, stepmother Esther (Myles) Thorstad, stepsisters, Deb, Kathy and Sandy, aunts Carol Thorstad, Selma Nelson and uncle LuDean Bruer, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and bonus children Mark Mollenhauer, Kim Jahnke (John Roiger).

He is proceeded in death by his parents Myles and Irene, brother Leroy, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Stepsister, and Grandnephew.

His funeral service will be held on Monday February 6, 2023 at 11:00 am at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria MN.  His visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at 10:00 am. Lunch will follow the service.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Gary John Thorstad, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, February 6, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Monday, February 6, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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