Lee Ann (Ir­gens) Tor­lak­son

San Francisco Chronicle - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

Passed peace­fully De­cem­ber 3rd and is now with her beloved Tor. Born Sept. 5th, 1935, in MN, to Lawrence and Tom­ena Ir­gens, Lee Ann was vale­dic­to­rian of her 1953 Fer­gus Falls class and grad­u­ated Phi Beta Kappa in 1957 from St. Olaf Col­lege, where she was Mid-Win­ter Queen and loved play­ing vi­olin in the orches­tra.

While pur­su­ing a mas­ters in drama, she per­formed with the USO for troops in Ko­rea, Ja­pan and Ok­i­nawa and joined the cast of the MN Cen­ten­nial Show­boat. After mov­ing to San Fran­cisco to teach English, she met the love of her life, Allen (Tor) Tor­lak­son. Lee Ann loved the arts. Tor loved tak­ing her out on the boat he chris­tened “Freya,” after her. She was his first mate; he her faith­ful opera date.

Her other great love was teach­ing. For twenty years she taught Honors and AP English at Low­ell High School and noted they, “were the best years of my pro­fes­sional life.” She rel­ished teach­ing her won­der­ful stu­dents about life and lit­er­a­ture, and was greatly ad­mired for her tal­ent and ded­i­ca­tion.

In 1974, Lee Ann and Tor built their home in Half Moon Bay and en­joyed the ocean, walk­ing their Ger­man Shep­herds (Ulf and Flicka), and host­ing friends and fam­ily. In sum­mer they vis­ited her fam­ily in MN, Tor’s in Ice­land, and ex­plored mu­se­ums, the­aters, and his­tor­i­cal sites in Eng­land, Europe and Mex­ico.

Lee Ann re­tired early in 1994 to be with Tor and suf­fered greatly when he died in 1995. She ex­plained, “I sorely miss his love of books, his plea­sure in tak­ing his boat out to sea, his fond­ness of pets, his manic sense of hu­mor – yes, I miss him.” She also missed teach­ing and found com­fort tu­tor­ing stu­dents. Trips to see fam­ily, to Shake­speare and Austen fes­ti­vals and to Nor­way were spe­cial plea­sures, as were each sea­son’s opera and sym­phony per­for­mances.

In 2009, Lee Ann was di­ag­nosed with de­men­tia. As it pro­gressed, she of­ten wrote notes on cards. On one found re­cently she wrote, “I love you and the years. I hope you re­mem­ber! I’ve not for­got­ten; not for­got­ten.”

Lee Ann was deeply loved by her fam­ily (step-sons Tom and Jim Tor­lak­son and their fam­i­lies, niece and neph­ews, Caro­line, Stephen, David and Ted Ir­gens and theirs). They are very grate­ful for An­nie, Ale­jan­dra, and es­pe­cially Edna, who en­abled Lee Ann to re­main in her home, with her beloved cats, her books, and her mu­sic.

Ser­vice: Coast­side Lutheran, 11am, Jan­uary 18th. Me­mo­ri­ams: St. Olaf Col­lege, Low­ell High School, or the ASPCA.

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