|REMEMBERING THOR BRANDT-ERICHSEN (1939-2008)
Biography of Thor by his son Scott (6.4 MB PDF)
We were saddened by the sudden passing of Thor Brandt-Erichsen, who died on May 22, 2008 in Homer, Alaska, where he was working on the family cabin. Viggo Thor Brandt-Erichsen, known to his friends and family as “Thor,” was the eldest son of Viggo and Patt Brandt-Erichsen whose family home is now Elverhøj Museum of History and Art.
No one was prouder of the Elverhøj Museum and its art gallery than Thor Brandt-Erichsen. He often had art on exhibit in the gallery and sold prints of his work to benefit the continued operation of the museum. On his visits to the Valley from Alaska, he and his wife, Nancy, participated in many events held at Elverhøj and represented his family in the operation of the museum.
Born June 3, 1939 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Thor attended local schools and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in 1956 and attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was an active participant in the Santa Ynez Valley Boy Scouts program where he developed his love for the outdoors. A journeyman printer, he worked for the Santa Ynez Valley News and the Santa Barbara News Press before moving to Anchorage, Alaska in 1962 with his wife, the former Nancy Hunt of Lompoc, and infant son.
In his early years in Alaska, Thor combined a career as a printer with many Alaskan adventures, including prospecting for gold and antimony, homesteading in the Nabesna area, playing in chess tournaments, and building a home and several cabins. From 1976 to 1979 he was the publisher of the Susitna Sentinel, a weekly newspaper based in Talkeetna.
In 1984, Thor retired from printing to pursue a degree in Art at the University of Alaska. He worked in many art mediums, was a past president of the Alaska Artist's Guild, and particularly enjoyed “extreme plein air painting” going to challenging locations such as Ruth Glacier on Mt. McKinley [right].
He was a frequent visitor to Solvang and maintained an active involvement with Elverhøj where some of his art work can be seen.
A Rotarian since 1992, he was active in establishing Rotary Clubs in Russia and promoted many Russian-American exchanges.
“Thor was a generous soul who gave of himself,” said his wife Nancy. “As a true Renaissance man, he had projects and dreams enough for several lifetimes. He lived large!”
Thor leaves Nancy, his wife of 46 years; son, Svend and wife Sarah of Bainbridge Island, WA and their children Haley and Axel; son Scott and wife Beth of Ketchikan, Alaska and their daughters, Sarah, Laura and Gracie. He is survived by his sister, Jean Nandi and her husband Satyabrata of Berkeley, CA and his brother, David Brandt-Erichsen and wife, Bien of Tucson, Arizona.
Shown below is another example of Thor's plein [open] air painting, where Thor packed his easel to Corona Arch on an outing with the Natural Arch and Bridge Society led by his brother, David.
An illustrated biography of Thor Brandt-Erichsen written by his son Scott is available. The 160-page book includes 79 photos. It is available in several formats: