Posted 1/31/18 (Wed)
Leslie “Les” Thorland, 97, of Watford City, N.D., died Saturday evening, Jan. 20, 2018, at Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston.
Leslie “Les” Arnold Thorland was born April 3, 1920, to Alice and Louis Thorland. Les grew up on a homestead near South Heart, N.D. Les attended school through 8th grade. As a child, he enjoyed horses, hunting and fishing, skiing and playing cards with his parents, siblings and neighbors.
As a young man, Les started working for the Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC). He was stationed in the North Unit of the now Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This was one of his favorite places to visit, and took great pride in showing the still existing work that he had done.
After the CCC, Les worked in various states across the U.S., including Florida, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Montana.
Les joined the Navy in September 1942, and served for the duration of World War II. While serving Les was a Signalman, 2nd Class. He served on the USS APC39 and was part of the Navy’s 5th Fleet. He was honorably discharged from the Navy on Jan. 12, 1946.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Les returned to McKenzie County, N.D., to be close to his parents. It was there that he met his future wife, Phyllis Yvonne Nelson in October of 1954. They were married on Feb. 19, 1955, and went on to raise six children.
In the early 1960s, Les formed a plumbing partnership with Jonas Restad, known as R&T Plumbing & Heating. Les later partnered with Lee Stevens and R&T became Great West Plumbing.
Upon his retirement in 1985, Les and Phyllis enjoyed visiting with their kids, grandkids and friends.
During his lifetime, Les was a First Lutheran Church Trustee, served on the Watford City Park Board, was on the McKenzie Hospital Board, and was a lifetime member of the Badlands Shooting Club.
Les was an avid reader, from a young child onward. He believed in the power of the written word, which gave him an education way beyond his formal schooling of 8th grade.
Throughout his life, Les enjoyed baseball, hunting, fishing and raising dogs. He also had a sweet tooth, and was known for his love of cookies, pies, lefsa, flatbread and anything sweet. Les also had a dry wit about him, which kept his children on their toes.
Les is survived by daughters, Barbara (Mark) Austreim of Williston, and Diane Thorland of Williston; sons, Michael Thorland of Marysville, Wash., and Miles (Jennifer) Thorland of Fort Collins, Colo., Mark Thorland of Bismarck; and his daughter-in-law, Jehan Thorland of Bellevue, Wash.; He is also survived by six grandchildren, Melissa (Brett) Krell and Marcus Austreim (Barbara and Mark Austreim), Eric Thorland (Steven and Jehan Thorland), Cory, Tyler and Amber Thorland (Miles and Jennifer Thorland); and greatgrandson, William Krell (Melissa and Brett).
Les was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis; his parents, Louis and Alice; his sister, Selma; brother, Palmer; and his son, Steven.
The family would like to thank those who took such good care of Dad at Bethel Home.
His funeral service was held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, at First Lutheran Church in Watford City. Pastor Rob Favorite officiated. Burial was in the family lot at Schafer Cemetery, Watford City.
Friends may sign the on-line register and give their condolences at www.fulkersons.com