In loving memory
Thor A. Larsen, Oct. 31, 1938 – Dec. 26, 2023
Born in Stavanger, Norway, Thor A. Larsen was the son of the late Thor Johan and Anny Sirnes Larsen and nephew to the late Karluf and Nelly Hansen. When the Germans occupied Norway during World War II, Karluf and Nelly helped raise Thor, while his father served in the U.S. Army. After the war, Thor Johan, Anny, and Thor were reunited in Queens, N.Y. Although he was a young boy when he moved to the United States, Thor never stopped loving his beautiful home country and never lost his accent.
Thor attended Queens College in New York Ciy, where he earned Bachelor of Science in physics (Phi Beta Kappa), Columbia University, where he earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering (Eta Kappa Nu), and then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., where he earned a fellowship in electrophysics.
Thor had a 50-year career in electrical engineering research and development, most of that at IBM, where he issued 14 patents. It was during his first year at IBM when he met the love of his life, Arlene Calabrese, on a chairlift at Catamount Mountain in the Berkshire Mountains.
Upon retirement from research and development, Thor pursued his passion for the arts. He attended the Woodstock School of Art in Woodstock, N.Y. He studied painting and drawing and was an active member of Woodstock Artist Association and Museum. He also contributed to several publications including The Norwegian American and the Van Wyck Gazette. Thor enjoyed volunteering with several Dutchess County organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Volunteers, and the Van Wyck Historical Society. Thor was also very active in celebrating Norwegian culture (which always excited him) and befriending fellow Norwegians and others who had a love of Norway.
Other than pursuing the arts, Thor’s favorite pastime was traveling the globe with his wife. They went on safari in Botswana, cruised up the Yangtze River in China, rode camelback among the Great Pyramids in Egypt, braved the Strait of Magellan, swam in the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and sailed the fjords of Norway.
In addition to his wife, surviving are his children, Mia Cole and her husband Carter, and Karl and his wife Anelize, his grandsons, Karsten Cole, Daven Cole, and Kane Larsen, his sister Irene Granell, his nephew James Granell, his nieces Melissa Granell and Alison Cullin, who will all miss him dearly.
This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.