Bruce E Thornblad
1951 – 2020
Bruce Thornblad, my fascinating husband, died unexpectedly on December 10, 2020. The facts are:
- He was born the second son of Bernard and Elaine (Hultquist) Thornblad and was raised in Oakland and later Omaha, NE. His family vacationed regularly in Estes Park, CO.
- He attended Westside Schools in Omaha where he made lifelong friends. After graduating in 1969 from Westside High School, he first studied at Dana College in Blair, NE and then at the University of Nebraska in both Omaha and Lincoln.
- After working in a bicycle shop, on a surveying crew for the Department of Roads and getting a realtor’s license, he became an independent home builder and residential investor, following in his father’s footsteps.
- He married me, Kathie Sparks, in 2001, gaining mother-in-law Violet Sparks, brother-in-law Scott Sparks and his wife, Linda and their children, Lauren and Sam, all of Plattsmouth, NE.
He leaves behind family who love him dearly and whom he truly treasured. First, his brother Paul, his wife, Nancy, and their three children; Matt and his wife, Corey (Brown) of Arlington, VA and their children, Lillian and Aedan; Kristin and her husband, Henry Chen and their daughters, Sarah and Amy of Omaha; Shannon and her husband, Will Hailer and their son, Robert of Arlington, VA.; and Vi, Scott, Linda, Lauren and Sam, all of Plattsmouth, listed above.
He fascinated me because he was endlessly curious, stubbornly independent and absolutely devoted to family and friends. For instance…
Bruce’s interests were wide ranging: English literature, architecture, music, art, philosophy, mathematics, finance, computers, wind generators, solar power, quantum mechanics, electric vehicles, photography, Asian culture, French culture, cooking and the natural world. He would focus on a subject that interested him until he knew enough and then move on to his next interest without forgetting what he’d learned. And he was willing to share what he knew whether it was helping friends and family with computer problems or household repairs or a shared field of interest…Photography? Travel Shows? Cassoulet? Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, anyone?
In 2002, his “if you want to” response to my asking about hosting a French girl through Rotary International’s Student Exchange program led to expanding our family. Maud Loriquet has been our much loved ‘French daughter’ ever since. Bruce thoroughly enjoyed gaining the friendship/familyship of the Loriquet and Aupetit families in France and having ‘French grandchildren’, Faustine and Baptiste after Maud Loriquet married Julien Aupetit in 2011. It also inspired a membership in Alliance Francaise d’Omaha where Bruce served as treasurer for 10 years. The Alliance introduced us to delightful fellow Francophiles and expanded our knowledge of French culture and language.
It was Bruce’s curiosity and independence that allowed us to travel independently. Because he was willing to drive, we could explore the US and parts of Europe by ourselves as well as with family and invaluable friends.
I could go on about the love of my life, but it must suffice that many will miss Bruce, who made us smile, could fix almost everything, cook almost anything, and provided unconditional love.
A celebration of Bruce’s life will be announced at a later date. Memorials are suggested to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy (rmconservancy.org), to honor his love of Colorado and the environment.