Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 01-15-2008 by
Howard Yellen
Thor David Hesla
April 1 1962 - January 14 2008

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01-02-2009 1:00 PM -- By: Deb Loon,  From: Minnesota  

I was a classmate of Thor's at St. Olaf College. What a guy, what an amazing person! The world is an emptier place without him.

12-27-2008 8:48 PM -- By: Betty ,  From: Atlanta, GA  

Thor, it's Christmas and I miss reading one of your Big Letters.

12-03-2008 8:25 AM -- By: Karen Rands,  From: Atlanta  

Thor was my neighbor in the dorm my Jr yr at Emory. I met him the year earlier through Rugby...as I was a rugby-hugger. I stayed in touch off and on because I always knew he would not live an ordinary life. I admired his intellect, enjoyed his humor, and envied his passionate, unfiltered embrace on life. I'm late to this eulogy because I only found out yesterday (12/1/08) that he had passed. I had reached out over the last few years, but the email bounced or the phone message was never received. I am new to face book and thought, I bet Thor has a Fb account, and discovered the news. The tragedy of it all. My sorrow is only tempered by the belief that he lived life without regrets and left an indelible fingerprint on so many lives and in so many ways. Looking at his picture, I can actually hear his hearty laugh. Peace be with you my friend.

11-05-2008 3:26 PM -- By: Valerie Craighead,  From:  

I agree - I would love to hear Thor's commentary on this campaign. I miss him too.

11-01-2008 2:22 PM -- By: Sarah Farnsworth,  From:  

Three days to elections!! This would be Thor's extreme dream election year -- I wish to hear his cutting analysis and his no hold back political commentary-- I'll be thinking of him while standing in line to cast my vote--he is missed greatly.

10-26-2008 10:41 PM -- By: Charles Aucremanne,  From: West Virginia  

I am saddened that Thor has passed. He touched and changed the lives of many around the world.

Thor taught me how to be a rugby hooker (Emory/Atlanta) in the mid 80's. I vividly recall him running with the ball, arms outstretched in front, but wavering from side to side like a child does playing airplane. It was meant to misdirect and deceive the opposition, which it didn't, but it did entertain every time. Thor was also my index for heat exhaustion. When we played rugby, both of us, being fair skinned, were very flushed. When tanned teammates would express concern, I would reply 'Thor is pinker than me and he's OK." Thor would somehow tie his reddened appearance to heightened masculinity. While wearing a skirt. And it all made sense.

10-04-2008 10:27 PM -- By: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi,  From:  

Tonight I saw Bill Maher's movie. Thor would have LOVED this movie! I thought of him during the film, as I often do.

I am sure Thor would have found Sarah Palin v. Joe Biden debate SOOOO interesting on so many levels....imagine his humor on this topic as well...

I hope that Maren & the rest of the Hesla clan are healing. I know it will take time.

09-20-2008 11:38 AM -- By: David Arneson,  From: Plymouth Minnesota  

I lived in Kildahl with Thor freshman year at St Olaf College. I remember him as being a great guy with an over the top personality. It saddens me greatly to hear of his death.

09-12-2008 3:00 PM -- By: Jorge Flores,  From: Los Angeles, CA  

The honor was mine to spend a few days working alongside Thor in Palm Beach, FL in Nov 2004. He was everything I had heard about him and more. Peace be with him and the Heslas.

08-28-2008 9:04 PM -- By: Stephanie,  From:  

I think Thor and Tim Russert are sitting back in their LaZBoys, beers in hand, laughing about how much everyone wants to know what they are both thinking about this election.

08-25-2008 10:56 PM -- By: Suzy,  From: Atlanta  

I wish I knew what Thor thought about this election...

07-19-2008 1:09 AM -- By: Michael "Mick" Kotula,  From: Long Island  

I knew Thor at Emory in the early - mid '80s through the Emory Rugby team. [What, you're a hooker? I thought I was doing great with you.] I roomed with Thor at the Decatur house on Scott with Dave "Captain Boner" Reed and David Muchane. I am saddened to know that Thor is gone, but from the photos on this site and the many notes, it seems he crammed a full life into his short life. I will hoist a few in his honor and the next time I sing Charlotte, the Harlot, the Cowpuncher's Whore, I will be thinking of you buddy. Ruck over my friend. Love, Mick

06-12-2008 10:09 AM -- By: Susan Lavine,  From: Washington, DC  

I am so very saddened to learn of Thor's passing. It seems just yesterday he was visiting Bernard and Maren at the DNC where we met on the balcolny of the Chairman's office. I joked he was a "superhero." I have never referred to anyone that way before or since. He was a treasure and this is so incomprehensible. A kind, smart, hard working, talented, generous spirited person. You don't meet superheros everyday. I have been out of the country much of the past four months and only logged into Facebook yesterday to be greeted by this news. Paralyzed. Dismayed. My prayers are with his family and friends. "For words are like Nature, half reveal And half conceal the Soul within." Alfred Lord Tennyson I will treasure his words and my memories of him. God Bless him may he rest in peace and live on in our memories. Amen

05-26-2008 2:46 AM -- By: Karina Vasilevska-Das,  From: Riga, Latvia  

I find myself returning to this site. It was less than a month before I delivered our first son, that Thor died so tragically. I did not have much strength in me to support my husband Sherwin to work through the enormous grief that Thor's death brought about, because all my thoughts were on the upcoming birth.

I often think of Thor. He is in the middle of the snowboarding/skiing picture of Sherwin's friends from Kosovo that is in our living room. I remember then the few times I had met him (one of them our wedding, which was transformed by his presence), but even more the comments I have read on this website, through which I got to know him better than before he died. And I often wonder looking at our thunderlike, stubborn new-born baby (they say you cannot tell at such a young age what baby's character is like, but I strongly disagree) that they did meet in the shady zone of before and after life and I am sure Thor did not hesitate to share some tips about life with Oliver. And I appreciate it.

05-23-2008 11:44 AM -- By: Alan Olson,  From: Boston  

I did not know Thor or Maren personally, but was Tim's roomate at St. Olsf for 3 years during the period 1957-1960, including 2 years with Alma and Otto at 9(?) Lincoln Lane, Northfield. We looked up to Steve, the "Stud" and to David, the "scholar." My own path as a professional philosopher was greatly influenced by David (who was at the University of Chicago at the time) -- in fact, I almost went to Emory before chosing Boston University as the destination for my PhD. And Maren Kirsten Hesla may be interested in knowing that I named my first daughter after her! I liked the name! It was the third generation return to ethnic names!

My deepest sympathy at your loss.



05-17-2008 5:29 AM -- By: MGBADA JOE,  From: BENIN  


05-16-2008 12:34 PM -- By: Greg,  From: Naperville  

It was my fist day at St Olaf and away from my family for the first time. Tufte and I decided to forgo freshman activities and found Thor walking outside our dorm. He was able to buy beer even though he was still under age. I remember getting drunk by the Canon River and I remember Thor. It has all been said.

05-16-2008 12:31 AM -- By: jody Steinberg,  From: Atlanta (BHS 1980)  

I was trying to give someone the link to this site and discovered that Thor almost started his own blog. Has anyone tried to go to www.ThorHesla.com? it's got one entry in it, as far as I can tell, but it would be nice if someone could figure out how to link it to this site.

05-05-2008 1:15 AM -- By: Britta Starke,  From: Chapel Hill, N.C.  

Thor was my cousin who I had not seen since our father/his Uncles funeral. I was aware that he was travelling to and fro for the betterment of less fortunate countries in turmoil. I have a great admiration for what he did for so many as well as how he seemed to live life to the fullest. It certainly puts into perspective the efforts we should all make to continue to contribute to society and to not take anything for granted. Thank-you Thor and God speed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Heslas and all those lives that he touched.

05-03-2008 12:23 PM -- By: Ann DeSimone(Hesla) Reyman,  From: Naples, Florida  

Thor is someone you can't possibly forget. Though I knew him only during his very young days (I was married to his uncle) and was not aware of all he had become, he was a very special, exceptional young person. One could hardly call him a child. His mind was so far beyond that, though the child within was a sensitive, very complicated human being. I shall never forget his reading Homer and his vast knowledge of WWII at the tender age of about 10. I also will never forget being in Atlanta after his mother died and going into his bedroom to kiss him goodnight. He seemed so vulnerable and lost. There were so many Thors. My love and heartfelt sympathy to David, Maren and all his family.

05-01-2008 7:11 PM -- By: Molly Hesla Constantinetis,  From: Raleigh, NC  

My cousin, Thor, that I had not seen in I don't know how many years...so sad to hear the tragic ending to such a wonderful person. I have memories, they just seem so old and never updated. My thoughts and prayers are with the Hesla's.

04-29-2008 11:13 PM -- By: Reuben Jessop,  From: St Olaf College / Thailand  

Living on the other side of the world, I learned late of Thor's passing ... rest well and we'll meet again on the other side!

04-17-2008 11:04 PM -- By: James M. Hesla,  From: Beaverton, Or  

God speed to a fellow Norske. While I don't totally agree with his politics, I am very impressed with his passion for trying to make a difference in the world. I pray that his efforts will be remembered long after his passing.

04-09-2008 3:30 PM -- By: Mary Miko,  From: Connecticut  

Although I never met Thor, Maren or David, my knowledge of the family came through relatives. Beginning in the late 1960's I met several of Thor's cousins & aunts. My dear friend, Thor & Maren's cousin, Robin Stegner resided in CT back in the 80's & would talk about her vacations in Atlanta. Living on the East coast rather than the Mid-west sometimes has advantages. I hope my small donation to Doctors Without Borders keeps his spirit alive in all of us.

04-08-2008 9:50 AM -- By: David Narum,  From: Northfield, MN (originally)  

Wow! I just saw this news on the St. Olaf webs-site. I am so sorry to hear this tragic news. I remember Thor very well from Olaf; and I think we were something like third cousins (according to my father, William Narum). My heart goes out to the family. The world will miss this guy.

04-07-2008 9:20 PM -- By: Lizz Holmes,  From: Brooklyn  

Happy Belated Birthday Thor- I spent part of the first of April at the BBG (Brooklyn Botanical Garden) and found a tree for us talk. I keep thinking I can e-mail you or imagining your reactions to whatever - knowing your real reaction would be likely to surprise me - then remember the conversation isn't delayed by miles or months or years but by the unknown.. that I won't hear back from you. The tree. It's a Dogwood, I think. The BBG (Brooklyn Botanical Garden) is very proud of their 207 genus' of Cherry Blossoms which are all currently in stages of blooming (actually known as a festival) meanwhile so bloom the Dogwoods and Magnolias in the free form landscape. If you veer off into corners, it can get confusing... but it's a Dogwood (for Georgia) it weeps slightly (sorta like a Willow tree only dwarfed) with big double blooms of mostly white or very pale antique pink (Like you - it's stately wise spiked with new branches, cheery and teeming with wildlife, weathered, windblown, and gnarly trunked) . He is 'Old Turtle' - stolen from a kid's book you'd dig called the same "and the Broken Truth." So if you wish meet me there sometime whisper to Old Turtle, I've left secrets there for you. My love & remembrance, Lizz

04-01-2008 7:09 PM -- By: Sarah Marie Eschweiler & Dave Gausmann,  From: Minneapolis, MN  

Dear Maren, Bernard, Olivia, You David, and Uncle David,

We are holding you in our hearts and prayers as we think of you all today, and of Thor... We send you heartfelt loving blessings, and to Thor's magnificent spirit, we send deeply loving birthday wishes. Happy Birthday in Spirit, Thor!!!

Your cousin & niece, Sarah Marie Eschweiler, & husband, Dave Gausmann

04-01-2008 10:47 AM -- By: Mike Lynch,  From: DC  

Happy Birthday Thor! We'll raise one for you today...

04-01-2008 6:26 AM -- By: cherie welch,  From: atlanta  

it has been said that life is not a "having" and a "getting." rather, life is a "being" and a "becoming."

happy birthday, wherever your soul is traversing today, to you for not only for memorably "being" but "becoming," albeit unabashedly, thor.

my thoughts are with you, your family, and all who love you.

04-01-2008 12:55 AM -- By: ,  From:  

Happy Birthday In Heaven. Rose


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