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George LeRoy Torkelson, age 96 of The New Glarus Home, formerly of Blanchardville, died on Sunday evening, October 21, 2018 at The New Glarus Home surrounded by his family. He was born on November 22, 1921 in Wiota to Levi & Clara (Gilbertson) Torkelson. He went to school in Argyle. He lived with area farm families and worked on the farms. He married Lenora Adeline Watkins on January 13, 1942 in Brodhead. They were together until September 18th of that year when George entered the Army during WWII. George served three years in the European Theater, mainly in Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. He was discharged from the Army as a Corporal on September 24, 1945. When George returned home he worked for Lake Shore Marty Cheese Company, and then at the John Metzger Cheese Factory. He then worked for the Blanchardville and Pecatonica Area Schools as the school head custodian until his retirement on December 15, 1984. In retirement he worked part time for the Village of Blanchardville, and then later for Saether Furniture in Blanchardville delivering furniture and The Saether Funeral Home as a funeral assistant for many years. His wife Lenora died on October 15, 2003. He later married Marilyn DeNure on June 14, 2008.
George joined the Blanchardville Fire Department and the Blanchardville Rescue Squad in 1963. He became one of the early EMT’s in Blanchardville serving on the Blanchardville ambulance. He was elected Blanchardville Fire Chief in 1974 and served as Chief until 1977, then was re-elected as chief in 1979 and served for several more years. He served on the Blanchard Village Board for several years. George was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church where he was on the church council & served as treasurer for many years, and later joined the New Hope Lutheran Church in Blanchardville. He was an active member of the Dobson-Johnson American Legion Post in Blanchardville, and served as a past commander. George was a good Norwegian that loved Norwegian foods, and was a proud Veteran. He had the honor of going on the first Badger Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. and received a Quilt of Valor.
George is survived by his wife, Marilyn Torkelson of New Glarus; two daughters, Nedra Torkelson, and Georgia (Albert) Alter, both of Blanchardville; two grandsons, Michael Endres (Becca Hanna) of Verona, and Anthony (Monica) Endres of Oregon; two great grandchildren, Dylan and Isabella Endres; six step-children, Debbie (Julie) DeNure of McFarland, Roger (Kathy) Denure of Beloit, David Denure of Minneapolis, MN, Peggy Kleiner of Florida, Rob DeNure of Madison, and Randal Denure of Monroe; 11 step-grandchildren; 4 step-great-grandchildren; and a sister, Ruth Kolb of New Glarus, formerly of Blanchardville. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Lenora; his four brothers, Clarion, Ernest Bertrum and Howard Torkelson; and one sister Geneva Ayen.
A visitation for George Torkelson will be held on Wednesday evening, October 24, 2018 from 4:00 until 8:00 PM at Blanchard Hall at 206 South Main Street in Blanchardville. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the New Hope Lutheran Church at 305 Madison St. in Blanchardville. Rev. Michelle Elfers will officiate. Burial will be in the Graceland Cemetery in Blanchardville. A catered funeral lunch will follow at Blanchard Hall. The Saether Funeral Home in Blanchardville is assisting the family. Online memories and condolences can be shared with the family at www.saetherfuneralhome.com.