Dr. Harlan Gene Thorvilson
February 20, 1945 - February 20, 2020
Harlan Gene Thorvilson, 75, passed away Thursday, February 20, 2020, at the Houston Hospice in Houston, Texas.
Funeral services for Harlan were held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 29th with Pastor Karin Liebster officiating.
Harlan was born February 20, 1945, in Mason City, Iowa. He grew up on his family farm south of Lake Mills with his mother and father, Gladys and Horace, and his sister, Ellen. During his childhood, Harlan loved helping his dad and uncles with farming chores, raising corn and soybeans and managing livestock. Harlan graduated from Lake Mills High School in 1963. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he earned a B.A. in Biology in 1967. In 1969, he earned a M.S. from Iowa State University in Zoology-Entomology. He was employed as an Associate Professor in Biology at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, from 1969-1980. From 1980-83, he was a Predoctoral Associate at Iowa State University where he finished his PhD in Entomology in December 1983. Dr. Harlan Thorvilson then moved to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he was a professor from 1984 until his retirement in 2011. He was a member of numerous professional and honorary societies and was awarded the Agriculture Teaching National Award of Merit and the TTU President's Excellence in Teaching for several years. His principal research interests were the biology and ecology of the red imported fire ant, entomopathogenic fungi as agents of insect biological control and protection of electrical equipment from fire ant damage.
Harlan married Claudia Juncker on June 27, 1976. Son Erik Paul was born in 1979, Michael Zane in 1982 and Kristin Ann in 1987. As a dedicated father, he supported his children in basketball, baseball, volleyball, Odyssey of the Mind, parent booster clubs, PTA and church youth groups. He never missed a game when his children were participating. He served on the church council and as congregational president of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Lubbock, Texas. He enjoyed travel, hiking, playing sports, reading and spending time with family and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Claudia; son, Erik and daughter-in-law, Kathryn; son, Michael and daughter-in-law, Shanna; daughter, Kristin and son-in-law, Austin; sister, Ellen; and five grandchildren: Annabel, Meredith, Grace, Claire and Erik Jr. He is preceded in death by his parents, aunts and uncles.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial endowment has been established in Harlan's name at Texas Tech University. The endowment will provide an annual scholarship to a TTU Department of Plant and Soil Science student. To contribute to the memorial fund, please send your donation to TTU CASNER (College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources) Foundation for Scholarship Funding, P.O. Box 42123, Lubbock, TX, 79409. Please note Dr. Thorvilson's name on your donation. Donations can also be made online at http://donate.give2tech.com/?fid=IA000657.
Dr. Harlan Thorvilson will always be remembered as a man with a kind and gentle spirit who was a great brother, friend, professional, husband, father and grandfather.
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