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Harry E. Therkelsen, Sr

Harry E. Therkelsen, Sr.



Harry E. Therkelsen, Sr., 92, of Rescue, Calif. passed away surrounded by his loving family on Monday, July 7, 2014.

Harry was born in Portland to Hans and Ethel Therkelsen in 1921. During the Great Depression era, his family moved to Victorville, Calif. then to Costa Mesa, Calif. Before returning to Pacific City.

Following Pearl Harbor, Harry enlisted in the Navy where he served as a Naval Aviation Navigator in the Pacific until the end of WWII. When he was discharged from the Navy, he moved to Forrest Grove and enrolled at Pacific University where he earned his teaching credential in 1950.

Harry began his 34-year career in Education at Bandon High School where he taught and coached their football team to a State Championship in 1952. From Bandon, he moved to Lakeview High School where he continued to be a successful teacher and coach from 1953 to 1955. In 1955, he and his wife, Helen, made a decision to return to California to be closer to her family in Half Moon Bay. Harry applied for a teaching and coaching position in the San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD), and he was hired and assigned to the newly built Hillsdale High School located in San Mateo. In 1964, he was appointed to an Assistant Principal position at Aragon High School specifically to assist with the implementation of the then innovative  “Modular Scheduling” program concept. Later in his career he felt it was important to become more involved with the District’s programs designed to address and provide for the eminent needs of those students who felt disenfranchised and unmotivated by the “traditional” focused curriculum. After 30 years of service, he retired from the SMUHSD in 1985.

After retiring, he became more involved with local veterans and charitable organizations. He was an active member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Knights of Columbus, and the Salvation Army.

He was an excellent craftsman, wood carver, carpenter, and gardener. He was a big fan of the 49ers, Giants, and the University of Oregon teams. He had an easy going and positive disposition, and he seemed to be able to quickly and easily engage people in conversations anywhere at any time.

Harry was the loving husband of Helen Therkelsen to whom he was married for 69 years. He is survived by his three children Harry Jr., Marlene and Laura; and his five grandchildren Rebeccah, Eric, Anna, Joseph, and Serah.

Based upon Harry’s specific requests, “no formal service” will be conducted; Donations can be made to Snowline Hospice of El Dorado County.

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