Mary Jo Thorsheim, PhD - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

August 27, 1937 - September 15, 2023

Mary Jo Thorsheim, PhD, age 86, of Minneapolis passed away September 15, 2023 at Seasons Hospice in Rochester. Born in Mpls on Aug 27, 1937 to Joseph and Gladys Thorsheim, she excitedly welcomed a brother, Howard in 1941. Mary Jo grew up in Bryn Mawr and formed many connections and friendships that would become lifelong. Always interested in helping others, Mary Jo sought education at St. Olaf College and the U of M, and earned advanced degrees in occupational therapy and teaching. She was instrumental in the development of the OT program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where she lived and worked earlier in life. Mary Jo returned to live in Mpls where she loved Wirth Park, the Eloise Butler Garden and the many museums and cultural institutions. Strongly interested in heritage she traveled to Norway many times, strengthening family connections and continuing to help others network and sustain relationships. Mary Jo gave special attention to her nephews in Northfield, attended band concerts, birthdays, special occasions and often brought gifts for all, not just the 'birthday boy". Quick in wit, with a keen sense of humor, Mary Jo enjoyed talking with everyone and finding things in common. After retirement she founded Norway Art in Mpls in 1979 and enjoyed researching, acquiring and selling Scandinavian art worldwide. Above all, faith and family were the center of Mary Jo's life and she showed this in many ways. Preceded in death by her parents and brother, Mary Jo is survived by her sister-in-law, Julie Thorsheim; nephews and many relatives in the US and Norway, and many friends whom she treated as family.

Memorials to Donor's Choice


  1. Leslee Lane Hoyum says:

    Mary Jo was an absolute delight. I first met her in the 1960s when a mutual friend introduced us. We remained friends all these years. I’ll miss her smile and words of wisdom.

  2. Mary Jo was an extraordinary colleague and a good friend. She will never be forgotten by us at The Norwegian American newspaper, and I will miss her deeply.

  3. Heather Vick says:

    Such a loss. We loved having her as an office neighbor and discussing Norwegian art. Norway House is feeling sad today.

  4. Audrey Aronson Johnson says:

    Mary Jo and I met when we were first year roommates at St. Olaf College in 1955 and remained close friends. She was a brilliant person from whom I learned so much. I will forever miss our long “catch up” phone calls and her sense of humor.

  5. Karen Thorsheim Dale says:

    Good memories of all Mary Jo visits to our home in Oslo Norway!
    Love from Rutt Thorsheim and family

  6. Joseph Grodahl says:

    Thank you, Mary Jo, for indulging a young intern years ago at the Sons of Norway building, taking up his lunch breaks to talk your ear off. Sorry it took me two years to finally buy something from you, a much beloved print of Idyll by Skredsvig. It has been a joy to know you these many years. Takk for alt, Mary Jo.

  7. Pam Nerhus says:

    Mary Jo and I shared many connections and enjoyed visiting over coffee at Norway House when I was volunteering there. We enjoyed our heritage and the beautiful art work she was so knowledgeable about. Sorry I didn’t get to have “one more visit!”

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