Torben (Toby) Torngren was born in 1929 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Danish parents who immigrated to the U.S a year before. At the age of 17, he joined the Army and was stationed in Augsburg, Germany. There, he met his future German wife, Maya, to whom he was married for 64 years.
He was a retired Design Engineer, who designed the cars for Oldsmobile in Lansing and AO Smith in Ionia, MI; trucks for Mack Trucks in Hayward, CA and Freightliner in Portland, OR; and finally, military vehicles for FMC in San Jose, CA. In his spare time, he built and remodeled his family’s homes and tinkered with cars.
Throughout his life, Toby was always very adventurous. In 1966, he and his family (with four children, aged 6, 9, 12, and 13) traveled and lived in Morocco, the Canary Islands, and all over Europe for 11 months. He was a talented musician and a member of several bands, including the Oakdale Community Band for 15 years and the Mo Band in Modesto. He was also a member of the Oakdale Garden Club. He loved cars, airplanes, music, and, most of all, his family. He was fluent in three languages. He was a great storyteller and entertained friends and family with funny and interesting stories from his past.
He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Ingrid Waisanen. He is survived by his wife, Maya; two daughters, Karin Arrigoni and Susan Torngren; two sons, Ken Christensen and Gary Torngren; two grandchildren, Laura Waisanen and Michael Torngren; his daughter-in-law, Lisa Torngren; son-in-law, Dave Arrigoni; sister, Dorrit Foltice of Michigan and brother, Ron Torngren of Hawaii.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Toby on Sunday, November 13 at the Gladys L. Lemmons Senior Center on 450 East A Street in Oakdale from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Nov. 9, 2016