Leonard S. Torson
Nov. 23, 1927 – April 1, 2020
Leonard S. Torson was born Nov. 23, 1927, in Cedar Rapids to John and Katherine (Bogus) Torson, the youngest of four children, and passed away suddenly April 1, 2020, at his home in Friend at age 92.
Leonard attended grade school in Cedar Rapids and later became a 1944 graduate of Cedar Rapids High School. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in April 1946 and took basic training, specializing in field artillery, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Ready for duty, Leonard left New York City harbor, cruising through the Panama Canal, ultimately serving in the Philippines as World War II finally ended. He was discharged in May 1947 as a corporal.
Leonard returned home to Nebraska where he was elevator manager for Cedar Rapids and later Edison before moving to Friend in 1954 as the manager of Friend Grain Company, a position he would hold for 32 years. Over those years many farmers enjoyed the visits with Leonard as grain was either being tested or unloaded at the elevator. On June 2, 1956, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth “Betty” Nowak in Fullerton, and to this union three sons and a daughter were born, Daniel, Douglas, Diane and Duane.
Leonard became the Warren Memorial Hospital administrator in the late 1980s and was instrumental in implementing improvements to the hospital such as the x-ray equipment addition in 1989, a heart monitor in 1990 and a new ambulance to name a few. As hospital board president and serving on the board for over 40 years, Leonard saw many changes such as the new Zimmer Medical Clinic and spearheaded projects benefitting the hospital through the hospital's nonprofit foundation fundraising arm. In 2004, Leonard was awarded the Nebraska Hospital Association’s “Trustee of the Year” Award. Leonard also worked for Friend Coop Elevator, Lauber Funeral Home, Friend Country Club, Yokel Hardware and the Friendship Terrace.
His services to the members and organizations of the Friend community were numerous. He served on the school board, the Friend City Council, the Friend Rotary Club, Friend Fire Department, library board and Country Club Board. In recent years, Leonard volunteered considerable time working at the country club, the opera house and assisting with downtown improvements.
Leonard was always active with the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church over the years. Leonard and Betty often opened up their home for visiting priests, nuns and religious helpers. He served the church in many capacities and was on the building committee for the new and exciting Catholic church and parish hall construction in 1994. He also was cemetery sextant and maintained records for St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Many who knew Leonard enjoyed his company, and he was truly one of those individuals who made life so much more pleasant for everyone around him.
Survivors include his wife, Betty of Friend; sons and daughters-in-law, Fr. Daniel Torson of Chicago, Illinois, Doug and Maggie Torson of Lincoln, Diane Torson of York and Duane and Tonya Torson of Grand Island; grandchildren, Darby, Taryn and Grant Torson; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Marie and Charles Werp of Omaha; several nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister; brother-in-law, Dorothy and Bub Rutten; brothers and sisters-in-law, Ray and Chris Torson and Bernard and Markie Torson; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Eleanor Chereck, Phyllis and Frank Bosak and Regina and Edmund Drog.
Honorary pallbearers were Robert, Jim, Don, Charles and Tom Torson and Ron Rutten.
Because of the pandemic and the public gathering limitation, only family participated in a rosary and mass on April 4. However, many friends and community members arrived in their vehicles and followed the family and funeral procession out to St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Condolences may be sent to the family at lauberfh.com.