– Eric Thorsgard was born on July 8, 1958 to Ernest and Ina (Sundquist) Thorsgard in Northwood, ND.
His family moved to Thief River Falls, when he was one year old where his father was a family doctor to the community. Eric’s childhood home was positioned on the banks of the Thief River Falls, nurturing his love for water, adventure and camping from a very young age. Eric would describe his upbringing as practically perfect and expressed his deep gratitude for the town of Thief River and the childhood it awarded him.
When Eric was 10 years old, his father volunteered in a tuberculosis hospital in Papua, New Guinea taking his family on an incredible around the world experience for a year. This deeply impacted Eric in many ways that would be significant later in his life.
Eric was a Thief River Falls varsity swimmer in high school and loved to tell stories about his inspirational Coach Kopari and his teammates that worked and swam so hard. Growing up, he had many adventures with the best of friends, who remain his true friends to this day. His family loved animals, especially horses, that they raised, bred and trained to drive behind carriages and sleighs on the frozen river behind their house.
When Eric was 12 years old, he decided that he wanted to be a veterinarian so he became focused on achieving that goal even at that early age. After graduating from high school in 1977, he went to Concordia College in Moorhead, pursuing a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry to launch him into Veterinary School.
During a summer break in his college years in 1981, Eric and his friends made a childhood dream come true and pushed off the banks of the river behind their house and started paddling their canoe to the Hudson Bay. The trip took 2 months following the river and canoeing through Canada to reach their destination.
In 1983, Eric was accepted to the University of MN Veterinary School where he thrived learning among brilliant professors and a tight knit group of veterinary medical students. These were challenging and productive years in Eric’s life. In 1987, he achieved his goal of becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and took his first associate veterinarian position in a large animal practice in Perham, where he practiced for 6 years under the tutelage of two fine veterinarians, Dr. Rose and Dr. Clausen. In 1991, Eric requested three months off and once again joined his childhood friend, Tony Brosseau, to dip their paddles in the river water, but this time heading to the Artic Ocean for another journey of a lifetime.
In 1992, he moved to Bemidji and began practicing mixed animal medicine at Bemidji Vet Hospital. In the coldest and snowiest winter of 1995, he met his wife, Gerri, and they were married September 1, 1996, thus beginning a new adventure. Eric and Gerri opened the doors of Animal Care Clinic in Bemidji on July 1, 1997. They welcomed their first son, Tragg, a month later, and two other sons Haakan and Brekt, followed quickly. Eric threw his heart into building a veterinary business and becoming the best father to his sons that he could be.
The years of owning a veterinary practice allowed Eric to use his ingenuity and problem-solving skills to develop orthopedic hardware for anterior cruciate ligament tears in dogs. Eric loved all animals and he was deeply committed to veterinary medicine because pets are family too.  He especially enjoyed orthopedic surgery, and all the challenges of good medical cases. As a business owner, Eric provided good, satisfying jobs for his employees, had a positive influence on the Bemidji community and practiced the best veterinary medical care for his clients and patients in Northern MN.
In 2010, Eric and Gerri became licensed for foster care in Beltrami County and welcomed many children into their home over the years and ended up adopting three children; a son, Askel, and two daughters, Erin and Rava (Pixie). The decision to become a foster family was inspired by his own father spending the year in New Guinea. Eric wanted to give back to this world some of what he had been given.
Eric was enthusiastic about living life and proud of his Norwegian heritage. He had unbridled curiosity for everything and was known for his inventive spirit, even winning the Northwest MN Foundation Idea Competition in 2009. Eric had a passion for the great outdoors and Northern Minnesota. He enjoyed snowy winters, building igloos, snowboarding and his 15 years as a Buena Vista Ski Patrol. His favorite place was at their family’s lake cabin on Clearwater Lake: being in a canoe, pulling his kids water skiing, floating the river, jumping from the dam, camping with his kids, grilling and sitting on the deck overlooking the lake with the CWLC.
Eric was generous and genuinely loved people, hosting company and helping to elevate fun for others.
In October of 2019 Eric was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme (cancerous brain tumor) which he fought valiantly and tirelessly for three years. He died peacefully on his 64th birthday at his “heaven on earth” lake home with his family at his side.
Eric is survived by his loving wife, Gerri, of 25 years; and his six children; his siblings, Knute (Nancy) of Detroit Lakes and Kyja (Dan Wold) of Denver, CO; along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and one of his best friends, Tony Brosseau.
Arrangements are by the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji.