Washington Highway Patrolman Irving M. Thorsvig died on October, 26 1926 from complications of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident two months earlier on the old Bothell-Seattle Highway. He was 27 years old.
Patrolman Thorsvig had been with the agency for only eight months at the time of his passing and left behind a grieving widow and two daughters, ages five and six. He was the second of 30 WSP personnel to die in the line of duty in the agency’s century of operations. A veteran of WWI, he was born to an immigrant family from Norway that had settled in the Everett area.
Irving Thorsvig was a local boy with a beaming smile that has endured through his service portrait above for more than a century. In his all too few years of adulthood, he served his country, his state, and his family with honor and devotion. He gave the last and fullest measure of that devotion in the line of duty on a Washington roadway. He will not be forgotten.
The Washington State Patrol lost its second highway patrol officer within a year of his commissioning. Committed to service, Patrolman Irving M. Thorsvig died from complications of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident while on duty in 1926.
Thorsvig was born on September 21, 1899, to Andrew A. Thorsvig and Jeannie E. Thorsvig, who had immigrated to the United States from Norway. Thorsvig’s father owned a brickyard in Woodinville and raised the family in Everett where young Irving attended school.
While still enrolled at Everett High School, 17-year-old Thorsvig joined the National Guard in 1916 in the midst of World War I. He joined Battery D of the 63rd Artillery and was mobilized to Fort Casey on Whidbey Island for training. The unit was deployed to France in 1918, arriving near the conclusion of the war.
Thorsvig was discharged from the military that fall with the rank of Private First Class and returned to help manage his father’s brickyard. He married Claire Olive Hambridge on December 17, 1919. The couple had two daughters: Gloria and Patricia. Though discharged from the military, Thorsvig continued serving his community by seeking a commission with the Washington State Highway Patrol on February 13, 1926, under the authority of Chief William Cole.
END OF WATCH
Patrolman Thorsvig was involved in a motorcycle collision after serving just six months with the agency. He was riding westbound on the old Bothell-Seattle Highway on August 29, 1926, when he slipped on the brick surface and the handlebar of his motorcycle struck him in the chest. The injury was initially believed to be minor, but soon became more serious affecting his lungs. The young patrolman succumbed to his injuries on October 26, 1926, while in route to a sanitarium in Los Angeles for treatment.
Thorsvig was survived by his wife of seven years and two daughters, ages five and six at the time of his death. Both daughters passed away in 2014.
The measure of service can be taken in the number of days and years a person performs their duty – or – in the scope of consequence and memory from their sacrifice.
In the official minutes of a 1926 Patrolmen’s Meeting, Washington State Highway Patrolman Irving Thorsvig was eulogized:
“Whereas the Supreme ruler of the Universe has seen fit in his infinite wisdom to remove from our midst… Officer Irving Thorsvig… we feel we have lost a beloved brother officer and companion who was held in the highest esteem by every member of the Patrol…” 94 years later, those words still echo in the hearts of the men and women of the Washington State Patrol.
Washington State Highway Patrolman Irving M. Thorsvig
End of Watch – October 26, 1926
Gone But Never Forgotten