Danvers — Robert A. Torkildsen, 89, died Thursday, March 14, 2013, in the Kaplan Family Hospice House. He was the loving husband of Mary Ellen (Hill) Torkildsen, who preceded him in death, with whom he shared 48 years of marriage. He was the father of ten children.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, on May 7, 1923, he was the son of Jorgen and Marie Louise (Nelson) Torkildsen. He was raised and educated in Huntington, NY, and was a graduate of Huntington High School, Class of 1940. He then served honorably in the U.S. Navy during World War II and continued his service for several years in the Naval Reserves.
A graduate of the University of Louisville, he went on to earn a master’s degree and do further graduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
A longtime Danvers resident, Mr. Torkildsen was employed with General Electric and GE Aerospace for 33 years, working in the Milwaukee, RiverWorks, and Wilmington plants, and during his time with GE was granted several patents by the U.S. Patent Office for various inventions.
A member of the Sons of Norway, he was an avid photographer and enjoyed spending time camping with his family. He was active in Boy Scouts, first as a youth and later as a leader with his sons. He was also an accomplished musician who played the sousaphone in a band at the 1939 World’s Fair. For many years he was an active member of the Danvers Republican Town Committee, and more recently the Rockport Republican Town Committee. He was elected a Danvers Town Meeting member for several terms.
He was a loving and cherished father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
He is survived by his children, Trina Torkildsen and her husband Jorg Freyer of Maryland, Robert E. Torkildsen and his wife Karen of Beverly, Karla Krogstad and her husband Robert of New York, Christopher Torkildsen and his wife Janice of Colorado, Judy Torkildsen Salmons and her husband Mark of Maine, former U.S. Congressman Peter Torkildsen and his wife Gail of Chelmsford, Brian Torkildsen of Rockport, Mary Sanders and her husband Jeff of Minnesota, Margaret Grover and her husband Warren of Illinois, and Patricia Coonrod and her husband Scott of New York, 22 grandchildren, Mia, Lucas, Ehren, Erika, Ingrid, Justin and his wife Valentina, Noah, David, Maggie, Derek, Ashley, Libby, Lauren, Audrey, Ben, Billy, Jarrod, Ryan, John, Ethan, Jackie, and Scotty, a great-grandson, Landon, a sister, Florence Brundage of OH, two brothers-in-law, Richard Addiss and J.T. Clinton, two sisters-in-law, June Stanley and Sr. Madeline Marie Hill, S.F.P., and many nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Gladys Addiss and Eleanor Torkildsen, and his special companion, Dorothy Savory.