Obituary: Tor Brunvand
April 20, 1935 – June 12, 2022
On June 12, Tor Brunvand passed away at his home in Campton, New Hampshire. Tor was born in Kristiansand, Norway on April 20, 1935. He arrived in America as an infant in the fall of the same year. His father, Harold, worked for the Michigan State Highway Department, eventually retiring as head engineer for the department. Being Norwegian, Tor was taught by his father to ski at an early age. First in Cadillac, Michigan, and later at the Lansing Ski Club, where the Brunvands were founding members. In high school, Tor met Sandra Toothaker. They were married in 1956 and both went on to attend Michigan State University. While on a spring break car trip to Colorado. Tor discovered Rocky Mountain skiing and swore that he would live in Colorado some day.
During their college years, Tor and Sandra started a family that would eventually include four boys – Mark, Scott, Eric, and Jay. Tor graduated from MSU in 1957 with a Business Degree and an Officer’s Commission in the Army. He entered Army Flight School and went on to fly L-19s and single engine Otters for the Army until his discharge in the Fall of 1961. His time in the service sparked a lifelong love of flying airplanes. For his final assignment in the Army, Tor maneuvered a transfer to Fort Lewis, Washington because upon discharge the Army would move his young family to any destination between Washington and Michigan. His destination of choice was, of course, Colorado.
Upon his arrival in Denver, Tor went to work with the Texaco Oil Company where he worked for the next several years. At Texaco, Tor became a regional representative and did marketing. During those years, the Brunvands lived in both Denver and Durango, where Tor – along with Harry Delaney – became the first volunteer Head of Ski Patrol at the brand new Purgatory Ski Area. All four of the Brunvand boys learned to ski and began their own lifelong love of skiing at Purgatory. The family has many fond memories of those early years being part of the Durango ski community.
In 1969, Tor left Texaco and attempted to make a go as an entrepreneur. The Prometheus Car Wash on South Broadway in Denver was at the center of that attempt. It ultimately failed, but two summers working alongside all four boys produced some fond, but crazy, memories. It was at the car wash that Tor met Steve Narans, who was developing the Holiday Inn in Frisco, Colorado. Tor had never run a hotel before, but Steve saw potential and offered Tor a job managing the property. Summit County became the Brunvands’ true home. Tor loved Summit County, and he loved finding the perfect place to raise his four children. All four boys graduated from Summit County High School. Tor served one term on the Dillon Town Board, and then two terms as Summit County Commissioner. He was very proud of his accomplishments as Commissioner, including funding the first bike paths in the county, working to start the Summit Stage Bus System, and working to develop the Summit County Justice Center.
Tor and Sandra divorced in 1983, and Tor left Summit County in 1986 to pursue new adventures in the east. At Waterville Valley in New Hampshire Tor found a second chapter for his life. It was there that he met Susan Carpenter, a soulmate. Over the next 28 years they worked and played together. As a team they took an abandoned, dilapidated inn and developed it into the successful Silver Fox Inn. During these years in New Hampshire, Tor renewed his love of flying airplanes, skiing with friends, golfing, and cross-country skiing (mostly at night with his close friend Bill Gorwood). In 2014 Tor was named New Hampshire Inn Keeper of the Year.
Tor is survived by his wife Susan, his four sons and their wives,Mark and Ruchi,Scott and Amy, Eric and Katie Kennedy, and Jay and Julie Seracuse. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brady, Bryan, Claire, Tori, Shay, and Delaney
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