Lynn Norman Torske

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Lynn Norman Torske

Lynn Norman Torske died at home on a sunny Saturday morning, March 21, 2020, after 79 years of hard work and, for the most part, getting everything done his way.

He was born Feb. 5, 1941 in Hardin, Montana, to Lois Naylor and Nils Erikson Torske. He was the older brother of two beautiful sisters, Linda and Norma. When he was 6 years old he broke his femur during a Fourth of July picnic. He spent the summer in a cast, acquiring a wire in his leg and a spectacular scar that, much later, amazed his young sons. As a kid, and for his entire life, he battled asthma.

Lynn went to grade school in Crow Agency and high school in Hardin, graduating in 1958. He was in the choir. The 1950s were the “good ol’ days.” He spent two and a half years at Eastern Montana College, but decided after an offer from his dad that he’d be happier back home as a partner on the farm. He ranched and farmed near Garryowen for the next 45 years.

On the eve of 1976, Lynn met his future wife, Carolyn Jacobson, at a Legion Club dance in Hardin. They were married in 1977 and had two sons, John and Stephen. They enjoyed 43 years of wedded bliss.

He spent decades feeding cows, calving and gathering at brandings with his many cousins. To Lynn, ranching was “just a lot of work” and it’s doubtful he was ever in love with a horse, but he knew that life better than most.

He sold his cattle in the mid-1980s, plowed up some more pasture and continued to grow dryland wheat, barley and commercial hay that he hauled to ranches in eastern Montana and northern Wyoming. Lynn sold the farm in 2006 and moved to Billings with Carolyn and two remaining farm animals: Smokey, the cat, and Isabelle, the dog. He bought an RV and had some memorable trips. To Carolyn’s reasonable frustration, but true to Lynn’s own form, he enjoyed the road and driving more than spending an extra night in any one place.

Lynn loved operating machinery. Over the years he owned all the mandatory farm implements, semis, tractors, combines, also several boats, camping trailers and RVs.

A close second to his love of driving was his love of buying, trading and selling all things vehicular. Lynn liked International combines and John Deere tractors. A “pick-up” was something used to drive up to the shop or out to the tractor. A “truck” was something bigger – used to haul grain or the big square hay bales.

He drove mostly Chevy pick-ups, but reluctantly kept a favorite old Ford the longest. Over distances of 50 feet or so there was never a decision between driving and walking. Lynn always drove.

Lynn loved airplanes and was a certified commercial pilot. He had a grass strip near the grain bins and owned a Cessna 170, then a Cessna 180. After years of not flying he took it up again when he shared his son Stephen’s plane, a Piper PA-11 – an aircraft nearly as old as himself that he called a “kite.” He loved it just the same.

Lynn made the first of three trips to Norway in 1988 with his dad, Nils. They met with many of Lynn’s uncles, aunts, cousins and their children – all people he held in high regard. He visited the farm his dad grew up on, at the end of a mountain valley and at the beginning of a Norwegian fjord.

Lynn was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Norma; his mother-in-law, Alice Moore; and his brother-in-law, Martin Jacobson.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; sons, John (Ann) and Stephen (Elizabeth); grandkids, Brooke and Beck Torske; sister, Linda Fenter (Steve); and sisters-in-law, Jean Hagel (Scott) and Lainey Keene (Mike). He is also survived by many in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews and good friends.

His family thanks all those who looked after him but especially the nurses of St. John’s United Hospice Care as well as some other special caretakers who helped him stay at home during the last several months.

A memorial service will be held at the First American Lutheran Church in Hardin, Montana, later this spring, maybe this summer, when it’s not so dang cold.

Dahl Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with the arrangments.