Herbert W. Thornberg, age 95, of Cambridge died November 3, 2010 at Cambridge Medical Center. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Monday, November 8th at Stanchfield Baptist Church with Rev. Tom Porta officiating. A visitation will be held from 11:00 A.M. until the service at 1:00 P.M. Monday at the church. Interment Stanchfield Baptist Cemetery.
Herb Thornberg, age 95, of Cambridge, surrounded by his family, his wife of 71 years and several of his 9 children, Herb “the Printer” Thornberg left this world to be with his beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus, on November 3, 2010.
Eric Herbert Willard Thornberg, or as he preferred, “Herb” Thornberg, was born October 2, 1915 on a Maple Ridge, Minnesota farm. His parents, John Otto and Arvida, and his siblings, Ethel, Ed, and Robert eventually put farming behind them and moved to Braham, MN where the children could get a better education.
Touting a genetic propensity toward stubbornness, as a youngster, Herb wasn’t one to be pushed into anything he didn’t believe in. So for 2 years he sat in the back row at church, easily escaping just after the sermon and before the altar call. But one day, he and his brother Bob got trapped near the front. Herb knew his time had come when a Gospel Team from First Covenant Ministry came to Braham Covenant church for an outreach and a man on the team came right down the aisle and said straight to Herb, “It’s time.” The conviction got the best of him and at age 13, Herb gave his heart and life to Jesus. His Mom was happy that her prayers were answered and the next day, Herb was ready to save the world!
Four years later, while at a basketball game, Herb spotted “the new girl” in town, LaVerne Smith. In his own words, Herb said, “I didn’t see much of the basketball game, but I sure saw her!” His charming follow-through after the game impressed LaVerne enough to jump in the car when Herb drove right up onto the sidewalk where she was standing and asked LaVerne to go for a ride in his Model-A.
That countryside car ride was just the beginning of what would become a 71 ¾ year marriage, filled with 9 highly-inquisitive, creative and rambunctious children, 45+ foster children, and many great adventures from Minnesota to California to Hawaii.
Cities bearing the Thornberg family “footprints” were: Braham, Brainerd, Stanchfield, Minneapolis, Anoka, Coon Rapids (MN). While Herb printed for Campus Crusade for Christ, the family lived in San Bernadino (CA) and Loma Linda (CA). Then smog-driven to find cleaner air, moved to Clear Lake (IA) for 11 years until the youngest graduated. With child-rearing years behind them, Herb and LaVerne “retired” to work for YWAM Kailua-Kona (HI) and the Sunland Base (CA) and finally “retired” to restfully work in Cambridge (MN). No matter where they lived, Herb “the Printer” and LaVerne “the Mom of the multitude,” always created impact. Combining business and missions, they served their own family and the greater family of God all their days together.
When Herb was forced to “retire” at 88 years old because of rising health issues, that didn’t stop him and LaVerne from taking on new spiritual frontiers. They found other missionaries to prayerfully support and spiritually parent. Always excited to see the testimony of Jesus spread throughout the world, Herb kept praying for more time to “serve the LORD.”
Herb was a voracious reader, devouring science, business, nature, and mechanics literature, the Bible, and alwaysthe daily newspaper. He had a particular bent toward delicious food, which coordinated perfectly with LaVerne’s love for cooking. His favorite dishes included any meat, especially turkey, tender roast beef or ham, au gratin potatoes, a variety of cooked vegetables and cherry-anything. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, great humor, watching preachers on TV, an occasional football game, Bible Studies, interesting conversations, and quiet time.
He had a gift to heal. Many times, without the funds to pay for medical help, Herb simply prayed for his family and they would always get better. His angelic entourage kept plenty busy watching over him as he often drove long into the night with his eyes half-closed, bringing family back home while tucked into the various nooks and crannies of the Hudson, the Lincoln, the Monte Carlo, and the Ambassador. He talked about Ole, Lena, Tilda, and Sven as though they were his closest friends, regularly telling everyone “stories” about them.
Herb survived and recovered from many major health incidents, but the last one was the final rung on the ladder home to his dearly loved and cherished friend, Jesus. On November 3, 2010, while his dear wife LaVerne, and several of his kids surrounded him, as if a great amount of light was hitting his eyes, Herb squeezed his eyes shut as hard as he could and took his last earthly breathshortly followed by his first heavenly one. It was a glorious moment for a wife who loves her man and for a family who loves their Dad.
Herb is survived by his wife, LaVerne, and his 9 children, John (Faith), David (Barb), Elaine, Jane (Craig), Robert (Melanie), Candace (Geoff), Dan (Lisa), Sheryl, and Janet (George). Herb is also survived by many foster children, including Joyce and Joan, by 23 grandchildren, Dan, Tammy, Greg, Brad, Cathy, Tyler, Mark, Heidi, Robert, Lace, Erick, Ashley, Candace, Jordan, Alicia, April, Adam, Garrett, Scott, Shawna, Phillip, Alexys, and Jacquilyn, and finally, Herb is surrounded by an ever-increasing numbers of great-grandchildren.
Greetings to the family can be sent to: LaVerne Thornberg, C/O Janet Smith, P. O. Box 280, Chanhassen, MN 55317.