Cover photo for Lawrence Sorenson's Obituary
Lawrence Sorenson Profile Photo
1922 Lawrence 2016

Lawrence Sorenson

April 30, 1922 — February 23, 2016

Lawrence Junior Sorny Sorenson, the son of Lawrence and Bertha Marie (Nelson) Sorenson was born on April 30, 1922, on a farm located 6 miles south of Colman, and 6 miles east of Chester, South Dakota. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and grew up with strong Danish family heritage and traditions. As a young boy he was known to his family as Dansk ke Fier or Danish Fire and learned to play classical violin. Lawrence or Sorny to family and friends, is a lifelong resident of Sioux Falls. He remembers learning English when he started school. He recalls walking through cornfields and hay fields to go to Longfellow Elementary School and recalls being told in the 5th grade that Sioux Falls population was only 35,000 people. Lawrence graduated from Washington High School in 1940. Following high school graduation he moved to Los Angeles CA with a friend to work for the aircraft industry. Lawrence was drafted into the United States Army and served his country from October 17, 1942 to March 20, 1946. He served overseas during the European Theater of Operations during WW II. He was stationed in France and traveled to Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg, and was honorably discharged with a corporal rank. Lawrence is a fifth-generation Army Veteran and is proud to say his son Curt, and grandsons Eric Sorenson and Tyler Gray, have also honorably served our country overseas in the armed services. Lawrence returned to Sioux Falls and met his future wife at the McKennan Caf. On December 5, 1952, he was united in marriage to Stella Mae Donley in Bryant SD. The Sorensons were married for 56 years and raised three sons and a daughter, of whom three live in Sioux Falls and one lives in Yankton SD. Lawrence worked for Henry Carlson Company for 37 years as a craftsman union carpenter, and foreman/ superintendent on many landmark buildings in Sioux Falls, including St. Marys Catholic Church, Christ the King Catholic Church, Calvary Cathedral, Arena, Minnehaha County Courthouse, 1st National Bank, Robert Frost Elementary School, Augustana Gilbert Science Center, and several building addition projects for Morrells, Ravens Industries, Sioux Valley (Sanford) and Avera McKennan Hospitals. Lawrence is an avid outdoorsman and loves gardening tomatos, fishing, duck and pheasant hunting. In fact, he used to hunt on the current grounds of Avera Prince of Peace. In addition to many treasured trips across South Dakota to Black Hills, California, Washington, and the Tetons, Lawrence also traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2010 South Dakota Honor Flight, in recognition of WW II veterans for their service. Lawrence has always been a kind, grateful, and loving husband, Dad, brother, uncle, grandpa and great grandpa, neighbor, and will be greatly missed by his family and also the many friends, both young and old, which he has made. Perhaps you may have fond memories of Sorny Playing catch or at a ball game; Hunting, fishing; Family reunions - Dell Rapids SD or at McKennan or Terrace Parks in Sioux Falls SD; Receiving quarters from Rich Uncle Sorny for paddle boat rides at Terrace Park; Taking Sunday drives; Map reading; Dancing; Ice skating and playing hockey; Wearing hard hats and working hard; Measuring twice, cutting once, and pounding nails; Master Gardener- growing tomatoes, African violets, planting flowers, maple trees; Attending patriot ceremonies and music events; Honor Flight; Attending VFW & American Legion Pancake Breakfasts; Receiving texts & emails, and being Liked on Facebook; Watching his Powerpoint slide shows; Being a subject in his digital photography; Cheering on the Minnesota Twins and Vikings; Prince of Peace Retirement Community; Memberships: VFW Post 628 lifetime member; American Legion; Carpenters & Jointers Union Lawrence lived at Avera Prince of Peace for eight years and always expressed his gratitude for the wonderful treatment he received from all the staff, especially the Oakwood and Arrowhead nurses. Preceding him in death were his parents, Lawrence and Bertha Marie Sorenson, and younger brother, Chet Sorenson, and wife, Stella Sorenson. Grateful for having shared his life are his four children: Russell (Robin); Curtis (Lori); and Frances (Tom) Tofte; all of Sioux Falls, SD, and Leonard (Robin) of Yankton, SD; Eleven grandchildren, Taylor Sorenson (Phoenix AZ), Eileen (Calen) Schumacher (St Cloud MN); Kathryn (Michael) Bjelland (Sioux Falls SD); Sarah Sorenson (Sioux Falls SD); Kristina Sorenson (Sioux Falls SD); Arby (Amanda) Gray (Katy TX); Jen (John) Clarno (Minneapolis MN); Jared (Jen) Sorenson (Round Rock TX); Eric Sorenson (Sioux Falls SD); Richard (Ashley) Sorenson (Sioux Falls SD); (Holly Tofte (Sioux Falls SD); and five great grandchildren Eden Sorenson (Round Rock TX); Ali and Sydney Sorenson (Sioux Falls SD); Tyler Gray (Great Falls Montana); Amber Gray (Katy TX); and several loving nieces and nephews, family, and friends. The family of Lawrence Sorenson thanks you for your support and presence today. An invitation is extended to join them at Chapel Hill for refreshments and fellowship following the funeral service. Internment services will follow at the Black Hills National Cemetery.
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