PETERSBURG, AK One of the founders of the company that became Icicle Seafoods has died.
Bob Thorstenson Sr. passed away this week. He was 77 years old. Thorstenson was part of a group of Petersburg fishermen who decided to purchase the Pacific American Fisheries cannery in 1965. The new company, owned by fishermen, later became Icicle Seafoods and expanded its processing plants throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. According to Brad Warren’s 2005 book “The Rise of Icicle Seafoods,” Thorstenson worked at PAF plants in King Cove and Petersburg before becoming the company’s youngest cannery superintendent in 1960 at the age of 29. He married Pam Martens of Petersburg in 1963.
When the owners of the PAF cannery planned to shut down the petersburg plant, Thorstenson helped hatch the plan for Petersburg fishermen and residents to buy the cannery. In April of 1965, the couple sold their home in Bellingham and all their possessions, including a herd of beef cattle, and headed north to Petersburg, where they lived for 12 years.
Thorstenson was named to the United Fishermen of Aaska Seafood Industry Hall of Fame earlier this year.
The family is planning a graveside service for Wednesday August 5th at 3:30 p.m. in Petersburg. A reception will follow at the Sons of Norway Hall.