Cover photo for Thomas Dorn's Obituary
Thomas Dorn Profile Photo
1935 Thomas 2021

Thomas Dorn

October 13, 1935 — February 3, 2021

Forest Lake

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Thomas Arthur Dorn, age 85, died peacefully on February 3, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer.  Tom was born in Shawano, Wisconsin on October 13, 1935 to Arthur and Margaret Dorn.  He was the youngest of 4 children.  Tom’s dad worked for the Soo Line Railroad which made for many moves around Wisconsin.  They eventually moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and finally settled in Forest Lake in 1948.

Tom attended Forest Lake High School where he met his lifelong sweetheart, Vonnie Van Elsberg.  After graduation, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy serving aboard the US Navrecsta out of Norfolk, VA.  He spent 2 years in active duty and 4 years in the reserves.

Tom and Vonnie were married on August 6, 1955.  Upon release from active duty they settled in Forest Lake and raised their 4 children.

Tom was a kind and gentle soul.  He always had a smile on his face and a kind word for anyone he came in contact with.  Tom enjoyed the simple things in life and family meant the most to him.  He enjoyed family vacations in Wisconsin, spending time with his brother and sister’s families and with his wife’s family in Northern Minnesota where he enjoyed fly fishing and hunting.  Family days in the fish house in the winter were a favorite family past time.  With family being most important to him, he celebrated the arrival of each new grandchild and great-grandchild with a full and happy heart, he enjoyed watching his family grow.

Tom had a deep passion for music, and he loved to dance.  You could find him cheering on his Minnesota Twins and Vikings.  The 4th of July was very special to Tom, every year he looked forward to the Forest Lake Parade and a family picnic afterwards.  In his quieter times you could find him producing the most beautiful patio gardens.  He was truly blessed with a green thumb.

Tom is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Margaret (Connaughty) Dorn; brother, Richard; sisters, Jean Dettman and Marion Menne; son-in-law, David Lichtscheidl and so many more loved ones.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Vonnie; daughters, Debbie (Marv) Anderson, Patti Lichtscheidl, and Lisa Gillespie (Dennis Richardson); son, Tom (Tanya); 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; many beloved nieces, nephews and extended family.  Tom will truly be missed by so many.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at The Church of Saint Peter, 1250 South Shore Drive, Forest Lake.  PLEASE ENTER THROUGH DOOR #4.  For those who cannot attend, “live streaming” will be available at

The family will greet friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Monday and 9:30-10:30 a.m.Tuesday at Mattson Funeral Home, 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake. To ensure the safety and health of all in attendance, we will be following the guidelines of Executive Order 20-62.  Please call for additional information if needed.  Private interment at Calvary Cemetery, Forest Lake.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Dorn, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, February 8, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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