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Inez Thorstenson loves the Minnesota Twins

She is the oldest living RHS alumna

April 15, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

Inez Thorstenson loves the Minnesota Twins Baseball Team. She has been a fan for at least 30 years. At 98 years old she is also the oldest living alumna of Rugby High School, having graduated in 1929.

She has been blessed with the gift of longevity and it seems to run in her family. Her brother Kermit Blessum is 100 years old and another brother, Mel Blessum, was 101 when he died this year. Her sisters were in their nineties. She will celebrate her 99th birthday in June with family and friends.

When she was 95 years old, Bert Blyleven wished her a Happy 95th Birthday on TV when the Twins were playing the Yankees in New York. She said, "Tell them that Rugby is the Geographical Center of North America," said Thorstenson with pride.

Although she never attended a game in the old outdoor stadium, she did go to games in the MetroDome. The Dome suited her just fine.

"I don't like sitting outside in the hot sun," said Thorstenson. "Besides what happens if it rains?"

She also thinks a good announcer is worth his weight in gold. "The announcers (for the Twins games), Dick and Bert are absolutely wonderful," said Thorstenson. "They explain everything."

She remembers Bert Blyleven when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins when she first became a fan. Blyleven played from 1970 to 1992. He was a good pitcher, according to Thorstenson.

"His birthday is April 6," she recalls. "Of course, you couldn't forget, he talks about it all the time," she laughs.

She has had a few favorite players over the years. Her eyes just glow when she talks about Kirby Puckett. "He was fun," she said. Tom Kelly was the manager then, she remembers.

Now, it's Ron Gardenhire and she likes him, too, except when he gets mad. She even has a bobble-head doll of Gardy. Some of her eight grandchildren and dozen great-grandchildren give her gifts of Twins memorabilia.

Pitcher Scott Baker is another favorite. "I took to him right away," said Thorstenson.

What happens when her favorite team loses a game? "I feel sorry for them," she said. "Everyone has a bad day when things don't go right. Sometimes, they need to be picked up and loved a little bit, too."

Thorstenson has macular degeneration and can't see as well as she would like to. "I can't see faces until I am close up," she added. But she is philisophical about her loss.

"I had my eyes when I needed them most, and I had good eyes," she said.

She is not one to feel sorry for herself. Her beloved husband, Marvin Thorstenson, died when she was only 36 years old. She kept busy raising three kids by herself.

When her kids were grown, she decided to look for a job so she wouldn't go crazy. She was offered a job in medical records at the Good Samaritan Hospital (Heart of America Medical Center). She was a little leery of the job because she did not know medical terms but she studied them until she knew them all.

"I worked in medical records at the hospital for 25 years," said Thorstenson. "I loved it. That job was made for me."

Now she spends her days watching her Minnesota Twins and visiting with people over a cup of coffee. Not too long ago she helped the All Class Reunion committee with information she had stored in her brain from a long time ago. Her memory is pretty sharp.

Currently, she is a Joe Mauer fan and she said, "We were all interested in the Japanese guy (Nishioka) until he broke his leg." Thorstenson said. "It isn't a bad break as he can walk around, he just can't play."

Not much gets by this lady. She is positive, a joy to be around, and if you are not careful, she will make you a Twins fan.

 
 

 

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