Milton O. Thorson


Date: Fri, May 18, 2018
Start time: 11:00 am
Merle Hay Funeral Home
4400 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Arrangements By:
Merle Hay Funeral Home


Milton O. Thorson

We bid farewell to another member of this country’s Greatest Generation. Milton O. Thorson, age 93, died on Dec. 21, 2017. Milt was born May 18, 1924 to George and Carrie (Larson) Thorson at the family farm in Thor, Iowa. He was the youngest of eleven children, all of whom pre-deceased him (Clarence, Olive, Joe, Alma, Lillian, Alvin, Blanche, Ernest, Kenneth and Cora). While growing up, Milt worked as a farm hand and veterinary assistant.

Following graduation as valedictorian from high school, he played semi-pro baseball in the Midwest until he joined the Army-Air Force during WWII, earning the rank of Tech Sgt. He was the radio operator on a B17 (305th Bomb Group) flying missions out of England. Milt and his crew survived being shot down twice (in Belgium and in occupied France). In France, the crew was rescued by monks and sheltered in their Monastery. The Monks generously opened their wine cellar to the very grateful flyboys!

After the war ended, Milt returned to Iowa and married his great love Phyllis Knutzon. He attended electronics school in Kansas City and worked at Northwest Airlines in Spokane, WA. Milt and Phyllis soon returned to Iowa and settled in Council Bluffs, where he worked for Program Services Co. installing Musak systems in commercial buildings and at Offutt Air Force Base. In 1959 Milt, Phyllis and their young children moved to Urbandale, IA. Milt was active with the Lions Club, American Legion and the VFW.

Milt was an electronic parts salesman until 1964 when he founded Thorson Mfg. Co., building custom electrical wiring harnesses for the vending, medical and farm equipment industries. The company has been run by family in West Des Moines for over 50 years.

Upon retirement, Milt and Phyllis spent winters in Florida for many years until 1997 when Milt lost his “beautiful bride” of 53 years. He then lived full time in Indiantown, FL where he enjoyed playing golf almost daily. He was proud to have shot two holes-in-one!

Milt is survived by his children Pamela Thorson, Mark Thorson, Jeffrey (Patti) Thorson and Matthew (Mary) Thorson; his grandchildren Ryan (Scherrie) DeBord, Greg (Stephanie) Thorson, Kelli (Aaron) King, Lauren Thorson, Lindsey Thorson, Dylan Thorson, Derek (Jessica) Handel, Dwight Handel, Molly (Ben) Swanson; 10 great-grandchildren, plus many nieces and nephews. Memorial services will be held at Merle Hay Funeral Home on May 18, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

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