Iris "Pat" Thorson
Iris “Pat” F. Thorson, age 83, of Story, WY, passed away on October 4, 2023 of a stroke. She had recently survived a four-year battle with cancer. Pat was known for her extensive service to others that included philanthropy, politics, community and church.
Pat was an inspiration to many who knew her. There was no such thing as “half way” once she became committed to a cause. She led organizations with tenacity, creativity and a direct approach to making things happen. She had a bright, infectious smile, complete with dimples and twinkling blue eyes. She was a good friend to many, a mother who taught her children to be independent, a successful entrepreneur, an avid traveler and a devoted Christian.
Pat was born on April 25, 1940 in Casper, WY to Iris W. Weaver Witt and Roscoe W. Witt. Her mother often told the story of how Pat was the first Rh (Rhesus) factor baby born at Natrona County Memorial Hospital, which was quite a feat back then. She was given the nickname “Pat” by her Uncle George Rhoads, who decided it would be too confusing to keep track of two “Irises” in the family.
She grew up in Casper, along with her older siblings Jacqueline and Roy. When Pat was young, she was inseparable from her dog “Snooks.” She graduated in 1958 from Natrona County High School, where she was involved in several school activities and played clarinet in the band.
Pat attended the University of Wyoming from 1958 to 1960, majoring in Education. She pledged Kappa Delta sorority. During her sophomore year, she met Tom Thorson, a senior, and accepted his proposal to marry. They moved to Moorcroft, WY in 1960, where Tom was to run the family business, Black Hills Bentonite.
In 1964, Pat, Tom and daughter Cynthia moved to Casper as the bentonite company grew. The family was graced with two more children, Vicky and Peter.
Pat had a knack for running things. For example, she started her own business, Witt’s End jewelry and clothing boutique, which she ran from 1985 to 2000.
The list of Pat’s civic accomplishments goes on and on. Really... it’s long. Some highlights include: Wyoming Federation of Republican Women president (two terms); two-time delegate to the National Republican Convention; the first and only woman to serve as the Casper Petroleum Club president; Wyoming Medical Center Foundation and Auxiliary president, Casper Area Chamber of Commerce vice chairman, and Wyoming Symphony Orchestra board member.
In 1991, Pat and Tom parted ways. In 1999, she married the love of her life, Dr. James D. Bush. During their wonderful 24-year marriage, Pat and Jim saw the world, visiting every continent. Her favorite travel experiences included the Baltic countries, the Nordic fjords, and river cruises in the U.S. and Europe. They settled in Story, WY, where they spent the summers, and lived in Sun City West, AZ during the winters. Their days were filled with friends and family, charitable causes and church involvement. Their three loyal dogs, Rusty, Pixie and Cricket took center stage in their lives every day. When Pat would ask Jim to do something, she would smile a mischievous smile, raise her eyebrow, and call him “Jimmy Sue” – which always made him laugh.
Following the passing of her brother and sister, Pat single-handedly took care of her mother Iris until Iris’s death in 2004. Pat took on this responsibility with devotion and grace, and it deepened their relationship over the years.
Some “fun” things Pat enjoyed included: Anything related to Christmas, shopping (it was hard to keep up with her), playing cards and board games, taking cruises – any cruise, trips to Las Vegas, geraniums, chocolate, and making her famous egg casserole for special occasions.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations to Summit Church Youth Ministry in Buffalo, WY would be appreciated.
Services will be held for Pat on Saturday October 14, 2023 at Summit Church, 980 N. Main Street, Buffalo, WY with a viewing at 10:30 am, Church, 980 N. Main Street, and the service at 11:00am. A reception will follow the service. Pat will be interment at Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo, WY.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.