Kathy Marie Thorson


Kathy Marie (Gillen) Thorson, 72, of Mellette, SD, passed away on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, with her husband and sons by her side, at Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD, due to complications from Covid.

Mass of Christian Burial is 2:00 p.m., Monday, December 20, 2021 at All Saints Catholic Church, Mellette, SD with Fr. John Short officiating.

Visitation is 5:00-7:00 p.m., Sunday, at the mortuary with a Liturgical Wake Service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation continues one hour before Mass at the church. In honor of Kathy, and all those who have suffered with Covid, the family respectfully requests that masks be worn at all times at the prayer service and funeral mass.

Burial is at Calvary Cemetery, Mellette.

A special to-go lunch in her honor will be served after the service.

Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook and also view the service at

Kathy Marie Gillen was born July 4th, 1949 in Mitchell, SD, to Edward and Constance (Reuland) Gillen. She spent her childhood with her parents and siblings, growing up in their home in White Lake, SD. While she was in junior high and high school, she started her farming career, spending parts of her summers helping on her aunt and uncle’s farm, and she was also active during the school year, as a cheerleader and participating in other athletic activities. After high school, she moved 135 miles north to attend Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD. It was there, during a business club meeting, that she met the love of her life and the man she would be married to for 51 years. She married Douglas Thorson on August 22, 1970 in White Lake, and then moved to Mellette, after the wedding. In 1974 they would move to the farm north of Mellette, where she would spend her remaining years, with her husband, having two children, while teaching at both Cresbard School and Northwestern, and being the most supportive, hardest working, caring housewife, homemaker, friend, and mother ever.

Kathy is survived by her husband, Doug of Mellette, SD; her two sons, Ryan of Denver, CO and Aaron of Omaha, NE; two sisters, Gayle Donahoe and Carla Gillen both of Omaha, NE; and two brothers, Mark (Wanda) Gillen of White Lake, SD and Roche (Deb) of Kimball, SD.

She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Constance and Edward, and her sister Joan Kjonaas.

Of all the wonderful attributes Kathy possessed, at the top of the list, was her kindness. She spent countless hours listening, conversing, donating her time and abilities, and just being there and caring, for her coworkers, friends, and family. She was a loyal member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the NSU Wolves Club, and All Saints Catholic Church in Mellette, SD. She loved attending sporting events of all levels, reading, playing games, watching TV, and spending time with her friends and family. More valuable conversations than can be measured were spent on the phone with her sons, giving advice and love and some occasional, but valuable, strong opinions. Everyone who knew her would tell you that she would do anything for anybody, and despite having some health issues throughout her life, she was the perfect combination of strength, compassion, and love. She will be missed by all who crossed her path during her wonderful time here.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests either plants or a donation to the Sanford Health Foundation at