She was born March 20, 1923, in Rawlins, Wyoming, the daughter of Alma Strandberg McClurg and Ralph McClurg. Along with her mother, she moved to Humboldt County in 1926, eventually living with her mother and step-father on the Matthiesen dairy ranch in Carlotta (now known as the Bess ranch). Upon graduation from Fortuna High School in 1941, she attended Humboldt State College and was later a graduate of Eureka Business College. Prior to her marriage to Jimmie Thomsen in 1944, one of her jobs was waitressing at the Mowatoc Hotel (now known as the Scotia Inn). Following their marriage, Shirley and Jimmie lived and worked on the Thomsen dairy located on Copenhagen Road, Loleta (home of the once proudly standing round barn), until selling out during the December flood in 1964.

Shirley will be remembered for her well maintained flower gardens on Home Avenue, Fortuna, along with her excellent baking skills; her pies, cakes and cookies will be greatly missed. She was an avid San Francisco Giants and 49er’s fan. When the games were on she could not be interrupted and s he was like an encyclopedia on the game and its players.

Shirley and Jimmie liked to travel, making trips to Denmark, Canada and Hawaii. Together they also liked to dance to Scandinavian music, the yearly mid-summer Scandinavian Festival being one of their favorite events. Picnicking at Runeberg Park, Carlotta or traveling out to Petrolia to visit friends was a regular Sunday event during the summer months.

Shirley was a member of Fortuna United Methodist Church and several Scandinavian lodges, both Danish and Swedish.

Shirley is survived by her three sons: Duane Thomsen (Jackie), Melvin Thomsen (Sharon), and Erik Thomsen (Judi); and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Shirley was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years James S. Thomsen in May 1999, her mother Alma Strandberg Matthiesen, step-father Jake Matthiesen, and father Ralph McClurg.

Private inurnment will be at Sunset Memorial Park in Eureka.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Humboldt or Fortuna United Methodist Church.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Shirley Thomsen’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email