Cover photo for Margaret Thorpe's Obituary
Margaret Thorpe Profile Photo
1930 Margaret 2021

Margaret Thorpe

April 22, 1930 — September 28, 2021

Rothsay, Minnesota

Margaret F. Thorpe, age 91, of Rothsay, MN, went to be with her Savior, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at St. Francis Nursing Home in Breckenridge, MN.

Margaret Francis Kowalski was born in Pelican Rapids, MN, on April 22, 1930, to Lawrence and Nina Kowalski. Her incredible, loving father raised her after the tragic death of her mother when Marge was only 4 years old. Her dad never remarried and stayed devoted to his family for his entire life. Her strong faith was instilled in her life at a very young age by her dad and remained with her throughout her life on earth.

Marge graduated from Pelican Rapids High School at 17 years old and her father, Lawrence, paid for her nursing education at St. John’s Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph School of Nursing in Fargo, ND, with the proceeds from his flax crop. Marge always loved seeing the purple fields of flax at the farm site near Erhard.

On June 28, 1952, Marge married Eugene Thorpe Jr., from Fargo. She was married to Gene until his cancer took his life on May 27, 1999. They made their home in Erhard, MN, and moved to Rothsay, MN, in 1963, to a brick home on the north side of town built by Gene, a first-class brick mason. Marge lived in the home she loved until she went into the nursing home.

Marge and Gene loved to dance; their favorites were old time waltzes and polkas. Their kids would often get roped into dancing when they had to endure the Sunday ritual of “Polka Party” on KFGO. They were quite good and it certainly was a joy watching them dance together. Perhaps, they have already waltzed to “Goodnight Irene” and polkaed to “The Beer Barrel Polka.”

Marge lived a life of service; service to her family and service to the community, always service to others. She worked as a Registered Nurse at the Pelican Valley Health Center, where she, more than once, had to tell Rothsay neighbors of the passing of their loved ones. She was the school nurse at the Rothsay School for many years. There are probably some people still afraid of her, as she had to line up all the kids for vaccinations. Even after her retirement, she would go to the Senior Center to take blood pressure readings for Rothsay’s senior citizens.

Marge was instrumental in the foundation of the PARTNERS organization in Rothsay. PARTNERS is an organization for “People Around Rothsay That Need Extra Resources and Services.” It was the first block nursing program grant in the State of Minnesota. During her years in Rothsay, she was a first responder of sorts, many people came to see Marge for multiple injuries and treatments, most minor but some very major.

Her unconditional love held the Thorpe family and the extended family together over the years. With 5 kids there was a constant stream of kids coming and going, all were greeted and welcomed as if they were family. Marge also endured the activities and entertainment of 5 kids too. From rock and roll bands practicing in the basement, to dances in the garage, to the countless band and choir concerts, to any sporting event including her kids but also events that didn’t even include her kids. I don’t believe that they missed any events of the 5 kids and Marge could be heard yelling “Come on” to encourage one of the 5.  Her voice was unique and it certainly would cut through the crowd noise of any volume.

Marge was independent and competitive; she was known to keep a running tally of wins and losses in Scrabble, especially with her children! She worked as a nurse when it wasn’t very common for married women with children to work outside of the home. If she made up her mind upon something, there was no changing that, sometimes we called that stubborn. She was a master at juggling work and family, cooking a sit-down meal every night for 7. She thought nothing of throwing 7-8 young kids in the station wagon with that terrible back seat and hauling them off to Long Lake to go swimming for a birthday party or just a random afternoon.

Marge will be loved and missed by many.  She successfully raised 5 kids of her own and welcomed all others also.

Marge will be deeply missed by her children, Dave (Amy) Thorpe, Moorhead, MN, Debra (Darrel Bernard) Sherette, Montello, WI,

Dion Thorpe, Springfield, VA, Don (Deborah) Thorpe, Dent, MN, Deanna (Duane) Hickel, Fargo, ND; 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, she deeply loved and was so proud of; sister-in-law, Carol Nelson, Park Rapids, MN; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Preceded in death by her parents; brother and sister; her husband, Eugene Thorpe Jr.; her grandson, Greg Sherette; sisters-in-law; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The celebration of life for Margaret Thorpe will be held Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Elizabeth, MN.  Where Marge and Gene were loyal and active members.

Visitation will be from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Brenny Hall.

Memorial Service at 11:00 AM

A light lunch to follow the service in Brenny Hall

Burial at St. Elizabeth’s Cemetery

Due to asthma and allergies, we ask that no perfume or strong scent is worn into the service.

A livestream of the memorial mass can be found on her obituary page at Burial will be in St. Elizabeth Cemetery in Elizabeth. Arrangements have been entrusted to Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home, Breckenridge.

Obituary submitted by Marge’s loving family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Rothsay Partners, Box 234 203, Rothsay, MN, 56579.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Margaret Thorpe, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, October 23, 2021

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Brenny Hall


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Funeral Mass

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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