Vernon Royce Thomsen

Vernon Royce Thomsen

March 19, 1940 – December 16, 2023

Vernon Royce Thomsen was born on March 19, 1940 in York County Nebraska to Frederick Wilhelm and Anna Due Thomsen. Vernon passed away on December 16, 2023 at Papillion Manor at the age of 83 years 8 months and 16 days.

Vernon attended rural elementary schools and graduated from Exeter High School in 1957. He attended Fairbury Junior College on a football scholarship and then transferred to Peru State College competing nationally in football and track before graduating in 1961. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 1970. He played one year of semi-professional football for the Lincoln Comets. He taught Industrial Arts, Physical Education and coached at a high school in Edon, Ohio before returning to Nebraska to coach and teach at high schools in Elmwood, Weeping Water, and Wahoo and a semester at Tama, Iowa. His thirty-four year coaching career included eleven years as head football coach at the high school level and twenty years as head football coach at the college level. His college coaching career included Fairbury Junior College, Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Northwest Missouri State, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and Iowa Central Community College. Overall, his teams had 300 wins, 74 losses and 4 ties. He was named coach of the year six times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Ellsworth Community College and Northwest Missouri State University. The teams he coached competed in numerous bowl games winning the conference multiple times and competing for national championship in Pasadena California in the Junior College Rose Bowl. They were named National Champions in 1976 and runner ups in 1977 and 1979 with national rankings other years. His teams produced thirty-eight professional football players. His dedication to developing the talents of young men through disciplined athletics enabled many young men to become successful in careers beyond high school and college. He completed his coaching career in a one year stint as head coach in the indoor football league with the Lincoln Lightning in their introductory year and won the league championship.

His work life outside of athletics included teaching Driver’s Education, and serving as a crop hail adjustor in the Midwest plus a two year stint as a commercial real estate professional in Scottsdale, Arizona with the Ler’rin & Company.

Vernon is survived by his wife of 61 years, Grace Horner Thomsen and son, Bruce Vernon Thomsen, (Dee Dee) of Nevada, IA and daughter-in law, Michaela Burley Thomsen of Omaha, NE, granddaughters, Lisa Thomsen Huber, (Dylan) Kansas City, MO, Jacquelyn Thomsen, (David Wood) and Anna Thomsen of Omaha, Danielle Thomsen Cross (Alex) of Gretna, NE, Ashley Thomsen of Kansas City, MO and Hannah Thomsen of Nevada, IA, Great grandson, Sonny Duke Cross of Gretna, NE, sisters in law Lois Thomsen of Exeter and Cynthia Thomsen of Fairmont, NE, Brothers in law Paul Horner, (Ida) of Lincoln, NE,  sisters in law Erma Sebek (Dave) of Wilber, Ne, Ann Hoback (Ron) of Crete, NE, Dorcas West (Paul) of Fruitland, NM, Terri Horner, Dunlap, TN, Mary Jo Sabata, Guide Rock, NE.

He was preceded in death by his oldest son, Mark William Thomsen, his parents Fred and Anna Thomsen, brothers, Richard, Roland, Warren, and Gale Thomsen, sisters in law Shirley Thomsen and Marie Thomsen Barney, Parents-in-law, Ernest Emerson Horner, Ruth Louise Stuemky Horner, brothers in law, Roy Horner (Helen), John Horner (Judy), Robert Horner, Neal Horner (Barb).

Memorial Service: Tuesday, December 19th, 11:00AM at Living Faith Global Methodist Church (5310 South 182nd Ave.) with visitation starting at 10:00AM.

Memorials may be directed to the family.


  • Bonnie Cudaback Posted December 17, 2023 7:01 pm

    My heartfelt sympathy in your loss. Vernon was a great guy. Larry and he enjoyed many high school antics, and were best friends many, many years. He will be deeply missed.

  • Ayman Sharif Posted December 18, 2023 1:23 pm

    I extend my deepest condolences to you and your family during this incredibly difficult time. During these moments of grief, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Pam Hoback Posted December 18, 2023 8:10 pm

    Aunt Grace, I know how much you loved UncleVernon by the way you gave your all to helping him in whatever way you could. I have learned a lot from Vernon and you. I won’t pretend to understand having a husband pass away. I do know I’ll be here for you and will keep in touch. I loved reading about Vernon in his obituary. I learned more about Vernon. He was an amazing man!
    Big hugs to you.
    I love you.

  • Jim Wolcott Posted December 22, 2023 10:30 am

    Many fond memories of playing football, shop and drivers’ education with Tuffy Elmwood high school..

  • Wayne Welsh Posted December 24, 2023 2:50 pm

    Grace, We are so sorry to hear of Vernon’s passing and your loss!! 60+ years of marriage doesn’t happen often anymore and I’m sure you two were an inspiration for many young people. Love to you!!! Wayne and Shirley

  • Thomas M Olson Posted December 26, 2023 3:15 pm

    So blessed to have known and played for Vern. So highly thought of by his players and coaches. He taught us a lot about football but even more about life. An incredible man who made me (and countless others) a better person. RIP Coach.

  • Steven W Stranan Posted December 27, 2023 6:03 am

    So sorry for your loss. Vern was a great man.

  • Eugene Reginald DuBose Posted February 4, 2024 9:08 am

    Coach Thomsen Was A Great Man , Coach Gentalman and leader of men .. Coach cared about all of us players . I loved Coach and he always found time to talked to me even when I finish College. Rest in Peace Coach and God Bless Mrs Thomsen and Family .

  • Marty Hart Posted February 12, 2024 11:30 pm

    I had the Greatest Pleasure of being Coach T’s Defendive Coorfinstor at Iowa Centeal. In Ft. Dodge. He was like a Dad to me. We were pretty much inseparable. I went with him znf joined his son Mark who was HD Coach at Ellsworth Comm College in Iowa Falls. After my first yr. There Zi was Marks D-Coorfinstor 2 more yrs. Coach and I reunited once last time as he asked me to join him when he took the Lincoln Lightning Hd Job. I was his Linebacker/Def. Coordinator. I MISS Coach T and I truly loved this man. I didn’t love his dam pipe he smoked, but he was a mentor but more than that.. Stories I could Tell. Love an miss ya Coach

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