Sverre Henry Monsen
GORHAM -- Sverre Henry Monsen, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on May 24, 2013 at the Gorham House. He had resided there since Feb. of this year after his health had declined. Henry was born in Bergen, Norway, on July 9, 1928, the son of Berge Monsen and Aagot Lund Monsen. His father had remarried after the death of his first wife and in total there were thirteen children of which Henry was the twelve born.
Henry lived a good life in Norway with countless treasured memories of his beloved Mother and hard working Father and his siblings. The best of those memories included the summers spent at the family summer home called 'Hovden' which sits on a hilltop overlooking the fjords of Norway. He would eventually share this experience with family and friends decades later.
During his youth he also experienced some dark times during the five years of World War II
beginning with the German occupation of Norway in April of 1940, which lasted until May 7, 1945. Henry was young at this time but had vivid memories including the deaths of two older brothers, fleeing during air raids and living with very little at times during those years. Norway recovered and so did the Monsen family.
Henry continued his studies and completed two years 'university' before joining Bergen Maritime Academy where he served as a radio telegrapher on board the ships. He loved being at sea where he was able to visit many parts of the world ranging from Europe to South America and Africa. He met many fascinating people along the way. When he was not at sea, he would spend what time he could bicycling through Europe from Norway to France with friends where he would also make new acquaintances. In 1951 he joined the United States Ddepartment of State in Bergen and a year later the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway. In order to advance he would need to further his education, he decided, in America. He went back to sea to earn his way across to America which would become his new home. While in school, he fell in love with Sociology 'the study of people'. He earned his B.A. at Tallahassee, Fla.; his M.A. at U.C.L.A
. and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas
, Austin. While working his way through school, one of the jobs he held was at Bennett's Travel Bureau in New York City where he met Alice Joan Smith whom he later married in 1958. They had two children, a son, Erik, in 1960 and
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a daughter, Kristin Marie, in 1963. They moved from Texas to Maine in 1968 when Henry accepted a Professorship in Sociology at U.S.M., where he would continue to teach for 25 years. He loved his job and made many close friends whom were originally students of his and became extended 'family members' over the years remaining in contact to this day. The family resided, happily, in Falmouth for over 20 years, finally relocating to Gorham where they all reside close to one another today. Henry touched many lives over the years and his family and friends have been blessed to have known him. Other than teaching, his other passions included traveling, classical music and jazz accompanied by a good glass of wine with friends and enjoying nature and the outdoors whether hiking, camping or skiing. He shared these activities generously with family resulting in lifelong memories of trips throughout Europe as well as many return trips to his beloved homeland of Norway. There were many summer vacations spent at Baxter State Park as well as hikes throughout the beautiful mountains of Maine which he enjoyed with special friends over the years. He continued hiking well into his sixties. Henry lived a very full life and considered himself a fortunate man up until the very end. His true 'wealth' was in the rich family ties both here as well as in Norway and in the many, many friendships that had been built over the years and remained precious to him.
He is survived by his wife Alice Joan Monsen of 55 years; their son Erik Monsen, his wife Blanca Gurrola; and grandchildren, Blanca Katerina and Carlos Leif of Gorham; and their daughter Kristin Marie Coolbroth, her husband Scott Coolbroth; and grandson Erik Scott Coolbroth also of Gorham. He also is survived by an older brother Leif Monsen of Bergen, Norway; and dozens of wonderful nieces and nephews still in Norway.
The family would like to personally thank the staff at the Gorham House for the wonderful care give to Henry in these last few months.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, May 30, from 9-11 a.m. at the Dolby & Dorr Funeral Chapel, 76 State Street, Gorham where a memorial service will follow at 11 a.m. Online condolences may be sent to www.dolbyfuneralchapels.com