Len Thomsen

KITTERY, ME. – Leonard Sargent Thomsen, 86, died peacefully on October 7th, 2020 at home surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  He was born in Baltimore in 1934, son of Ferris and Helen (Walter) Thomsen.  After graduating from George School (PA) in 1952, Len earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1956 from Princeton University where he majored in Architecture, played on the lacrosse team and was enrolled in the Navy ROTC program.  Later as an officer and pilot in the Navy, Len traveled extensively through the Pacific aboard The USS Ranger.  When stationed in Washington state, he met his bride-to-be, Heather Lorna Watson, whom he wed in New Westminster, BC on December 29th, 1962.  Len began his career as a teacher and coach in the Boston area and remained for 28 years at The Rivers School in Weston, MA where he was a math teacher, admissions director, and lacrosse and soccer coach.  Through his teaching and coaching, as well as his life-long commitment to Camp Deerwood in Holderness, NH, Len inspired and mentored countless boys and young men.  Along with his brother, Len served as director of the camp and then Executive Director of The Deerwood Foundation, working to put into action his ardent belief that the summer camp experience should be an opportunity open to all boys, regardless of their economic situation, race, ethnicity or religion.  Len was an avid outdoorsman, environmentally conscious ahead of his time, and inspired hundreds of campers and his sons and grandchildren to follow suit, through backpacking and canoeing adventures in his beloved White Mountains and beyond.  He is predeceased by his brother, Ferris “Tommy” Thomsen, Jr. and survived by his loving and devoted wife of 57 years, Heather, as well as three sons and daughters-in-law: Timothy (and Coleen) of Plymouth, NH, Lorne (and Alexandra) of Waterbury Center, VT and Daniel (and Sara) of Cumberland, ME.  He also leaves eight grandchildren who thought the world of him (Ben, Jack, Max, Gavin, Louisa, Kate, Ana and Lila);  Len was so proud of them and loved to watch their sporting events and musical and stage performances.  He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. The family hopes to be able to hold an in-person memorial service next summer at Camp Deerwood’s outdoor chapel.  Memorial contributions may be sent in Len’s name to The Society for the Protection of NH Forests (54 Portsmouth Street, Concord NH 03301 or forestsociety.org/contributions) or The Deerwood Foundation (c/o Biff Sutcliffe, Executive Director, PO Box 78, Holderness NH 03245 or deerwoodfoundation.org/contribute).

Send us photos & news

Return to All News