On Sept. 8, 2012, heaven threw a boisterous “Welcome Home” party for LaVerne Thornberg. It is there that LaVerne is said to have leaned into the everlasting arms of her dear Lord and Savior, Jesus, and then enjoyed a grand reunion with her cherished husband of 71 years, Herb.
Funeral Services were held Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 at Stanchfield Baptist Church with interment at Stanchfield Baptist Cemetery.
LaVerne Elizabeth (Smith) Thornberg, daughter of Edwin and Signe Smith, was born Oct. 4, 1916 in Stanchfield Township, Minn. Her artistic talents twice landed her the lead role in the Braham High School play. Her senior yearbook described LaVerne as, “Beautiful, with the hand of an artist.”
16-year-old LaVerne met 17-year-old Herb Thornberg at a basketball game. Herb said, “I didn’t see much of the game, but I sure saw her!” That night marked the beginning of what became a 71-year marriage filled with nine children, 45 foster children, and 23 grandchildren.
In 1974, while living in Clear Lake, LaVerne began working as a Handicap Village “House Parent.” She loved caring for the many wonderful residents.
Throughout her life, LaVerne was deeply attracted to Jesus. As Mom, Good News Kid’s Club leader or just plain “Grandma T,” LaVerne always looked for ways to share her genuine love for people through her Christian faith.
Herb and LaVerne “retired” to Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where Herb printed and LaVerne worked in the costume department. In 1988, they moved to Cambridge, Minn. and soon thereafter, learned that LaVerne suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Always a fighter, LaVerne never stopped caring for others, even though she herself became physically disabled. She loved laughing, praying, and sharing her faith—all the way to the end.
LaVerne is preceded in death by her husband, Herb (Nov. 3, 2010), and by her brothers, Richard “Buddy” Smith and Donald Smith.
LaVerne is survived by her brother, Russell Smith; sisters, June Connelly and Margie Williamson; her nine children, John (Faith), David (Barb), Elaine, Jane (Craig), Bob (Melanie), Candace (Geoff), Dan (Lisa), Sheryl, Janet (George); 45 foster children; and 23 grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were made by Strike Funeral Home, Cambridge, Minn.