November 21, 1917 – December 19, 2013
Gwen passed away peacefully and comfortably in her sleep on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at the age of 96 years.
Much beloved, precious and cherished Mom to Dave, Linda (Hart), Bob (May), Doug (Luanne) and Don (Betty). Also so loved by her seven grandchildren, Sean (Saville), Tracy, Curtis, Nicole, LeRoy, Luke and Rafaella. Survived by her dear sister Phyl (Bernez) and “baby” brother Harold. She was predeceased by her sister Mary Layman in 2011. She leaves behind sixteen nieces and nephews.
Gwen had fifty-three years of marriage to her early sweetheart and soul mate L.A. (Chick) Thorssen, who predeceased her on July 1, 1996. They shared a lifetime commitment to family, community, church and helping others less fortunate. Gwen lived her entire life as a “giver”, always thinking of others first and being the most loving, encouraging and supportive mother, wife and friend. Gwen’s lifetime contributions to charities, women’s equality, church and community organization in terms of service, leadership, support and commitment were countless.
Her participation and leadership in Local Council of Women, Alberta Council of Women, Calgary Status of Women Action Committee, Provincial Welfare Appeal Board, First International Women’s Day Organizing Committee, Founding Board of Directors Member of Calgary Meals on Wheels, many local, provincial and federal Election Campaigns, and Chair Calgary Lay School of Theology was an inspiration to all.
Gwen’s unmeasured respect and fondness for the YWCA was obvious throughout her many years of support for this wonderful organization. She was a member of the Board of Directors for years as well as the New Building Committee; and successfully lobbied The City of Calgary to donate the “old building” to community groups. She later founded the first YWCA Alumnae in Canada and received a Certificate of Recognition from the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women) for “outstanding and tireless contribution to women’s equality”. In 2003, she was awarded the Agnes Amelia Blizzard Award “in recognition of a YWCA volunteer who has shown personal commitment and demonstrated leadership to the YWCA movement in Canada”. In 2005 she was awarded The Alberta Centennial Award. Gwen’s was truly a purpose driven life.
Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made directly to the YWCA of Calgary, Telephone: 403-263-1550, www.ywcaofcalgary.com
In living memory of Gwen Thorssen, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences