LaVerne E. Thornberg, age 95, of Cambridge died peacefully September 8, 2012 at GracePointe Crossing Gables West. Funeral services will be held at 3:00 P.M. Friday, September 14th at Stanchfield Baptist Church with Rev. Tom Porta officiating. A visitation will be held from 1:00 P.M. until the service at 3:00 P.M. at the church. Interment will be in the church cemetery.
LaVerne Elizabeth (Smith) Thornberg, daughter of Edwin and Signe Smith, was born October 4, 1916 in Stanchfield Township, Minnesota. 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 9 children, 45 foster children, and 23 grandchildren.
In 1974, 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, Minnesota 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.
On September 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.
LaVerne is preceded in death by her husband, Herb (November 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 9 children, 45 foster children, and by 23 grandchildren.