On Saturday, August 10, 2019, Hans Thorvald Rygaard, age 90, peacefully passed away, surrounded by his loving family. Thorvald was born on September 27, 1928 in Atchison, Kansas to Hans and Hester Rygaard. He received his civil engineering degree from Purdue University in 1949, several weeks after eloping and marrying the love of his life, Virginia Edith Brislain. Thorvald and Virginia raised six children.
Thorvald served in the US Army during the Korean War, stationed at Ft Wainwright in Alaska. He was both a licensed civil engineer and a registered architect in Missouri. After 25 years’ service, he left AT&T Southwestern Bell as the head of real estate, going on to practice architecture in the Kansas City and greater Midwest area. He enjoyed mentoring young architects and actively volunteered with the American Institute of Architects.
He loved his family, his church, travel, and photography. Thorvald was proud of his wife and children and their accomplishments. His children remember him for teaching them Christian ethics, self-sufficiency, and service to community. Thorvald was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit for 50 years, serving variously as trustee, deacon, Sunday school teacher, frequent volunteer and mission trip member. With his wife, Virginia, he traveled and avidly photographed the world: from the Great Wall of China, to the islands of New Zealand, the Sea of Galilee, and the canals of Venice. Thorvald always enjoyed new experiences; learning to ski, scuba dive, fly glider planes and bird watching. He earned a pilot’s license and enjoyed flying light airplanes. He was an accomplished water color painter. Thorvald was known for his calm and steady demeanor, analytical problem solving, sly humor, and quiet generosity.
Thorvald was preceded in death by his parents, Hans and Hester Rygaard, his beloved wife of 64 years, Virginia, and his brother and sister-in-law, Leslie and Mary Frances Rygaard. He is survived by his six children, Winifred, Martha, Paul, Lois, Christopher, and Julia, as well as his cousin Carolyn Zarter, two nieces, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was a good man.
A visitation will be at 9am followed by funeral services at 10am on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at the First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit on 2 NE Douglas Street. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to the Guatemala Mission Fund at the First Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit.