Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Corwin “Corky” Thorson

Corwin "Corky" Thorson

Corwin “Corky” Thorson, age 84, of Philip, South Dakota, died on Thursday, November 3, 2022 at Scotchman Living Center in Philip.

Graveside services with military honors will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 18, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.

Corwin “Corky” Joseph Thorson was born on March 12, 1938, in Philip, South Dakota, to Joseph and Cora (Hovey) Thorson. He grew up about 17 miles northwest of Philip in the Grindstone area and went to grade school at Alfalfa Valley. Some of his teachers at Alfalfa Valley included Jim Gottsleben, Esther Knutson, Marjorie Kiel, Anna Belle Stevens, Veronica White, Mayme Beaton, and his sister, Mildred Thorson. Corky then attended high school in Philip where he stayed with various widows who took in several children and furnished food and board during the week. He would go back home for the weekends. Corky tried out for basketball and football but did not care for either. Growing up Corky helped his dad mow and stack hay with horses as well as planting and harvesting oats, wheat, corn, and barley.

Corky went into the Army in October 1956 after training in Arkansas and Virginia. He then served in Korea for 14 months. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1958 and returned to Philip at that time.

In early 1959 he moved to Milwaukee and got a job with a construction company. It was there that he met his future wife, Carolyn (Piotter). They were married in Manawa, Wisconsin in 1961, and to this union Roger, Boyd, and Diane were born. They bought a house and moved back to Philip. At that time Hans Hanson put him to work as a meat cutter for Hanson’s SuperValu where he continued to work for many years.

In 1970 Carolyn and him divorced. He then married Margo Lutjens in 1974. Margo passed away in 1994 from cancer. Corky then married Zoni Gittings in 1995.

Corky purchased the grocery store from Hans and Velma Hanson in 1986 and later sold the store to Ronnie and Dawn Coyle in 2002.

In Corky’s retirement he continued to work 8-10 hours weekly at the grocery store. He also drove the community minibus on Thursdays. Corky enjoyed bowling, golf, and occasional card games. Corky also enjoyed working in the outdoors and keeping his yard green during the summer. He was a member of the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, and First Lutheran Church, all of Philip.

Survivors include his wife Zoni of Philip; sons Roger Thorson and his wife Dallys of Champaign, IL, and Boyd Thorson of Philip; daughter Diane (Pat) Rensch of Rapid City; step-sons Gus (Jody) Lutjens of Sisseton and Jody Gittings of Philip; step-daughters Dawn (Ronnie) Coyle of Philip and Julie Neugebauer (Bill Adams) of Council Bluffs, Iowa; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sister Janice (Bart) Parsons of Milesville; sisters-in-law Phillis Thorson of Spearfish and Jan Riggins of Aberdeen; and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Leonard and Lauren Thorson; step-son Jamie Gittings; and sisters Maxine “Mick” O’Reilly and Mildred Radway.


Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.


Rapid City, US
1:49 pm, October 4, 2023
overcast clouds
Wind: 8 mph
Pressure: 1014 mb
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:53 am
Sunset: 6:29 pm
Gavin Sundstrom

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