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Playford Thorson II

    September 27, 1925  -  January 26, 2012

Life Legacy

Playford Vernon Thorson, II, Grand Forks, ND died Thursday, January 26, in Grand Forks.

He was born September 27, 1925 in Albuquerque, NM to Playford and Mary Ellen (Garrett) Thorson. The son of a BSA scoutmaster and boyscout himself he was raised in and graduated from high school in Roswell, NM. Playford volunteered for the US Army Air Corps during WWII and served in England, France and Germany. He earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of NM where he met Harriet Jean Baldauf. They married on June 24th, 1950 in Pontiac, MI. They worked and studied in Sweden for a year where he began his life long interest in Scandinavian studies. In 1951 he began working as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota while working on his PhD in History. The family moved to Grand Forks, ND in 1960 where Playford began teaching history at UND. In 1972 he completed his Doctorate and became a Professor of History, a position he held until his retirement in 1995.

Playford had a great love of learning and teaching and mentored many graduate students at UND. In 1967 he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher award from UND. He spent many years interviewing and researching local immigrant communities. He co-edited the book Plains Folk: An Ethnic History of North Dakota. He also had a great love of travel, the outdoors and enjoyed camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters. He was a loving husband, father and friend.

Playford is survived by his wife, Harriet; sons Erik(Samantha), Raymond, WI, Jeffery, Milwaukee, WI, Brad, Fargo, ND and Philip, Sebastian, FL; grandchildren, Katie, Andrew, Grace, Michael and Adam; a brother Stephen(Billie)Thorson, Palm Desert, CA.

He was preceded in death by his son, Playford Thorson III and by a brother, Ted.

Funeral Services will be 2:00 PM Thursday, February 2, 2012 in Amundson Funeral Home of Grand Forks, ND.

Visitation will be for the hour before the service in the funeral home.

Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery of Grand Forks, ND.

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Born: September 27, 1925

Death: January 26, 2012

This memorial provided by:
Amundson Funeral Home
Grand Forks, ND