Dorla Deane (Thorson) Herrin, age 81 died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Kenai, Alaska on September 30, 2013.
Celebration of life will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, October 7, 2013 at Peninsula Memorial Chapel, 5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.
Dorla was born in Bagley, Minnesota in 1932 to Millie and Ole Thorson who worked at lumberjack camps in The Big Woods. Dorla and her siblings lived at the family farm with Grandma and Grandpa Halverson, enjoying a close relationship with their cousins and Norwegian extended family. Her early life on that farm and post war era shaped her to be a resourceful, hardworking and capable woman. She enjoyed the outdoors, patiently fishing, generally catching when no one else could! She belonged to the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post #20 in Kenai.
In 1951 she married Don Childs and had a daughter, Marcia, and a son, Ronnie, who died in infancy. Her life with Don’s family took her all over the United States. After her divorce she met Delmar “Red” Herrin, a single Texan with two sons: Delmar and Link. They married in 1956, blended their families and had two more children: Joy and Kevin.
In 1966 the family vacationed in Alaska, never returning to The lower 48. They settled North of Kenai where Dorla’s early childhood now equipped her to live a rural life on raw land with privation and few amenities. By example her children learned work ethics and self-sufficiency at home while her husband worked the oil fields. During this time she wrote and received abundant letters; a gift to her children that let them stay connected to relatives they rarely or never met. Many happy evenings were spent reading aloud Alaskan books and playing cards.
In 1971 she began working at Nikiski Elementary as a hot lunch cashier and eventually retired as head custodian. She enjoyed caring for the school, the staff and loved the children. Her husband Red started an excavating business and Dorla operated a loader/backhoe and heavy equipment. Together they built subdivisions and roads in the K Beach, Kenai and Nikiski area that exist today.
Dorla was preceded in death by her husband Red, her son Ronnie and stepson Delmar who died while serving in Vietnam; grandson, Darrel Herrin as well as her parents, sister, Dawna Harris and brother, Kenneth Thorson.
She is survived by her children and their spouses Marcia and L.H. Pierce, Joy and Jamie Baldridge and Kevin Herrin all of Kenai, stepson Link Herrin and wife Kathy of Yorba Linda, CA, sisters Carol Hromidko, and Sharon Pratt, brothers Paul and Gary Neill and cousins Laverne and Duane, all of Bagley, Minnesota as well as grandchildren, Heather, Tiffney, Rocky, Sarah, Lucas, Ryan and Derek and 14 great grandchildren.
Condolences may be sent in care of Joy Baldridge – P.O. Box 3665 – Kenai, AK 99611.
Arrangements made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel & Crematory. Please visit her online guestbook and obituary at AlaskanFuneral.com