September 22, 2015

Torvald Bertinuson

Torvald A. Bertinuson Jr. passed away at home, surrounded by his loving family, on Sept. 14, 2015.
He was born on Sept. 12, 1923 in Alexander, N.D., the son of Torvald A. Bertinuson and Anna Nygard Bertinuson.
After graduating from Arnegard High School, he served four and a half years in the U.S. army, first in the 97th Infantry Division and then in the 11th Airborne Division as platoon leader and acting Assistant Adjutant General. He was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant and was a lifetime member of Disabled Veterans of America.  
He earned a BS and MS at the University of Denver and performed additional postgraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, where he served as an agronomy instructor from 1951-1954.
From 1955-2001, he worked in the tobacco industry for Cullman Brothers, Consolidated Cigar Corporation, and then as head of his own consulting company. His work involved extensive travel throughout the eastern US and Latin America.  
Torvald was actively involved in local life and government in East Windsor. As the “Father of the East Windsor Park System”, he tirelessly campaigned to establish a series of parks; the East Windsor Park, Warehouse Point Park, Prospect Hill Park, Pierce Memorial Park, and Broad Brook Pond Park.
He served as second selectman and member of the tax board, and on multiple committees, including the Broad Brook Pond Restoration Committee, the Ambulance Committee, Farmland Preservation Committee, and the Advisory Committee on the update of the Town Plan. He was also co-founder and First President of the Melrose School Preservation Committee, which worked to restore the old 7th District School. He was a long-time member and Reader at St Catherine’s Church, serving on the Parish Council, the Holy Name Society, and the CYO.
A life-long Democrat, Torvald served on the Democratic Town Committee for 46 years. He worked on many local and national political campaigns, particularly those of his wife Teresalee Bertinuson, a Connecticut state legislator. Tor was recognized as the East Windsor Rotary “Citizen of the Year” and received citations from the Connecticut Secretary of State and the National Recreation and Parks Association.  
For the last 11 years, Tor resided at Seabury Retirement Community, where he was a founding and active member of the Garden Club.  
Tor was predeceased by his wife, Teresalee; his parents; his brothers Ernest, Edward, Iver, and Barney, and sisters Evelyn and Theresa.
He is survived by his sister, Ruth Rolfson; his daughter, Sarah; daughter, Janet and her partner Bridget Dunford; daughter, Mary Ellen and her husband, Wayne Bickley; daughter, Catherine and her husband, Jon Oltman; daughter, Anne; and daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Frank Bonavita; 13 grandchildren, Justin, Rachel and wife Julie, and Sarah Lusa; Jessica and Miranda Bickley; Anya Pearson; Anna and Noah Oltman; Shannon, Robert, Anthony, Teresa and Jake Bonavita; and ten great-grandchildren; Tyler, Macin, Raven, Alexis, Bridger, Jocelyn, Aydin, Aidan, Bell, and Stella. Also left behind are his long-time caregivers, Gwenneth and Krystyna.
He will be missed by many others who were touched by his kindness, his sense of humor, and his gentle spirit.
Friends were invited to share their memories of Tor with the family during calling hours at Bassinger & Dowd Funeral Home, 37 Gardner Street, East Windsor on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 from 5-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial took place at St. Catherine Church, Windsorville Road, Broad Brook, on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. The burial followed at Melrose Cemetery, East Windsor.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tor’s name to Feeding America, PO Box 96749 Washington, D.C. 20090-6749; Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 6439, Americus, Georgia 31709-6439; or St. Joseph’s Indian School, PO Box 300, Chamberlin, S.D. 57325-0300.
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