Lars Erik Thorson
September 21, 1961 – March 13, 2022
Lars Erik Thorson, age 60, passed away on March 13, 2022, after a long battle with end stage renal disease. His kind-hearted and loyal soul will be deeply missed and his life and spirit will surely live on in those who loved him.
Lars was born on September 21, 1961, to Anna Bess Doyle (Thorson) and Steven Bradford Thorson in Hilo, Hawaii. Lars has one older sister, Lisa, with whom he has always shared a close and loving bond. He and his family moved from Hawaii at age 7, relocating to the mainland. He spent the next 10 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Pensacola, Florida and Providence, Rhode Island.
Lars was involved in theatre from a young age, working as a child actor and assisting his father in a variety of theatrical productions. He continued to pursue his interest in theatre through high school, and following his graduation from Classical High School in Providence, Lars entered Ithaca College.
In 1984, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College in Boston, majoring in creative writing and theatre arts. He attended graduate school at University of California, Davis, and later graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy from Columbia University in New York City.
Lars met his wife Kimberlee in 1985 while acting and stage managing Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” for the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival. They married in 1987 and raised two children, Elizabeth and Joseph. They lived in the Los Angeles area, moving to the Oakhurst/Mariposa area in 2002. They raised their children in the mountains until 2011 when they relocated to Fresno.
As a young man, Lars worked for a number of theatre organizations including The Public Theatre in New York City, Long Beach Civic Light Opera in Long Beach, California, and The Los Angeles Theatre Center. He began his 30-year teaching career at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, California, where he taught Theatre and English.
He continued working in education throughout his life, and he spent the last 20 years as the theatre arts teacher at Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, California. He taught drama classes and produced over 40 plays and musicals during his tenure at YHS. He supported students in their various student-directed productions and mentored many students’ senior projects throughout the years. In addition, he taught classes in English and Journalism and directed Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Lars loved his job as an educator, especially the years spent with the wonderful students and faculty at YHS. His students frequently remarked that Mr. Thorson was a favorite teacher who knew how to listen to students, inspiring them to do their best work and be the best person possible.
Lars spent his leisure time following sports of all kinds and was an avid Fantasy Football participant. He loved his dogs, as well as gardening, the ocean, and buying flowers for people. Whenever possible, he enjoyed attending theatre, museums, traveling, fine dining, and visiting with his mother, father, sister and their families. He also loved listening to his sister’s performances as a jazz vocalist. He valued the time he spent watching his children in the various sports teams and performances, and he enjoyed coaching his son’s soccer teams.
Even as he faced increasing challenges to his well being, Lars continued to channel his passion for theatre by developing the Yosemite High School theatre program. He maintained friendships with many of his former students throughout his life.
Lars is survived by his wife Kimberlee, children Elizabeth and Joseph, his sister Lisa and life partner Gene Charny, and his mother Anna.
A celebration of life is planned to take place at the Yosemite High School Theatre on April 23rd.