Lourdes Academy mourns death of board chairman

By The Compass | August 26, 2020

OSHKOSH — Lourdes Academy of Oshkosh is mourning the loss of its board chairperson and system parent, Andrew Thorson.

Thorson, 38, died on Aug. 15 from complications after being stung multiple times by hornets on Aug. 2.

Andrew Thorson

Thorson, a member of St. Jude the Apostle Parish, Oshkosh, served on the Lourdes Academy Board of Trustees since 2012, and became chair in 2015. He also served on Lourdes Academy’s facilities committee and building committee.

During his tenure as chairperson and serving on various committees, Thorson led the system through the development of a comprehensive strategic plan, a financial plan resulting in a consistent positive cash flow, a long-term plan to preserve and enhance facilities and a vision to bring all Lourdes Academy students onto one campus in an expanded facility.

Thorson, a Milwaukee native, was a product of Catholic education as a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University and then Cardinal Stritch University, where he received his MBA. He was committed to advancing the ministry of Catholic education at Lourdes Academy, said John Dinegan, Lourdes Academy president.

“Andrew epitomized everything a board member should be,” said Dinegan. “His knowledge of the school’s physical plant from his time in the Neenah system provided us with such a strong resource. His even-keel, kind personality brought a steady, common-sense leadership approach to the board chairperson position. He was a great husband and father, and a good friend.”

In addition to his volunteer service with Lourdes Academy, Thorson served as the Deputy District Administrator for Business Services for the Neenah Joint School District (NJSD). According to district officials, he helped create a new financial management system, helped design the new Neenah High School and was the visionary behind the $114.9 million referendum, which passed in April.

In 2018, Thorson was named Neenah Joint School District Administrator of the Year by NJSD and in 2019 was named New School Business Manager of the Year by the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials.

Thorson is survived by his wife, Heather, who serves as the enrollment coordinator for Lourdes Academy; four daughters, Abigail, Lydia, Emily and Vivian; his parents, Amy and John Thorson; brothers, Louis (Jessica), Paul (Mary), John (Sara) and Alex Thorson; sisters, Maria (Matthew) Feeney, Molly (Eduardo) Naylor and Beatrice Thorson; a brother-in-law, Dewey (Cheryl) Josephson; his grandmother, Jacqueline Thorson; mother and father-in-law, Lynda Kleinschmidt-Johnson and Greg Johnson; nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends. A private memorial Mass was held on Aug. 22 at the St. Vincent site of St. Jude the Apostle Parish. Fr. Louis Golamari officiated. Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery in Oshkosh.

A tuition assistance fund has been created at Lourdes Academy (250 N. Sawyer St., Oshkosh) to help support Andrew’s wishes for his daughters to continue in Catholic education.

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