Public visitation will be Friday from 10:00 am to 8:00 p.m. at Lauber Funeral Home, Friend. Please come to the visitation period Friday to drop off your sympathy card or to simply pay your respects. Because of the pandemic and the public gathering limitation, only Leonard's family will be participating in the rosary and the mass on Saturday. Burial will be in the St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Friend. Memorials may be directed to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Leonard S. Torson was born November 23, 1927, in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska to John and Katherine (Bogus) Torson, the youngest of 4 children, and passed away suddenly Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at his home in Friend at the age of 92.
Leonard attended grade school in Cedar Rapids and later became a 1944 graduate of Cedar Rapids High School. He was drafted into the US Army in April of 1946 and took basic training specializing in field artillery at Fort Knox, KY. Ready for duty, Leonard left New York City harbor, cruising through the Panama Canal, ultimately serving in the Philippines as World War II finally ended. He was discharged in May of 1947 as a Corporal.
Leonard returned home to Nebraska where he was elevator manager for Cedar Rapids and later Edison before moving to Friend in 1954, as the manager of Friend Grain Company, a position he would hold for 32 years. Over those years many farmers enjoyed the visits with Leonard as grain was either being tested or unloaded at the elevator. On June 2, 1956, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth “Betty” Nowak in Fullerton, Nebraska and to this union three sons and a daughter were born: Daniel, Douglas, Diane and Duane.
Leonard became the Warren Memorial Hospital Administrator in the late 1980’s and was instrumental in implementing improvements to the hospital such as the X-Ray equipment addition in 1989, a heart monitor in 1990, and a new ambulance to name a few. As Hospital Board President, and serving on the board for over 40 years, Leonard saw many changes such as the new Zimmer Medical Clinic and spearheading projects benefitting the hospital through the hospitals non-profit Foundation fundraising arm. In 2004, Leonard was awarded the Nebraska Hospital Association’s “Trustee of the Year” Award. Leonard also worked for Friend Coop Elevator, Lauber Funeral Home, Friend Country Club, Yokel Hardware and the Friendship Terrace. His service to the members and organizations of the Friend community were numerous. He served on the School Board, the Friend City Council, the Friend Rotary Club, Friend Fire Department, Library board and Country Club Board. In recent years, Leonard had volunteered considerable time working at the Country Club, the Opera House and assisting with downtown improvements. Leonard had always been very active with the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church over the years. Leonard and Betty would often open up their home for visiting priests, nuns and religious helpers. He served the church in many capacities and was on the building committee for the new and exciting catholic church and parish hall construction in 1994. He also was cemetery sextant and maintained records for the St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Many who knew Leonard enjoyed his company and he was truly one of those individuals who makes life so much more pleasant for everyone who was around him.
Survivors include his wife, Betty, Friend, sons and daughters-in-law, Fr. Daniel Torson, Chicago, IL, Doug and Maggie Torson, Lincoln, Diane Torson, York, Duane and Tonya Torson, Grand Island, grandchildren, Darby, Taryn and Grant Torson, a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Marie and Charles Werp, Omaha, several nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, brother-in-law, Dorothy and Bub Rutten, brothers, sisters-in-law, Ray and Chris Torson and Bernard and Markie Torson, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, Eleanor Chereck, Phyllis and Frank Bosak, Regina and Edmund Drog.
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