Valders Journal publisher Brian Thomsen dies at 64

May 1, 2024

Brian Thomsen speaks to a group at the Friday Night Steak Fry on Aug. 19, 2016, during the WNA Trees Retreat in Eagle River. (Photo by Photo by Julia Hunter, WNA)
Brian Thomsen, publisher of The Valders Journal, makes his first appearance as Wisconsin Newspaper Association president on Feb. 26, 2016, during the Better Newspaper Contest Awards banquet in Middleton.  (Photo by Mary Callen)

Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Brian David Thomsen, 64, of Valders, Wisconsin, died unexpectedly on Sunday, March 24, at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, surrounded by his family.

Born on Aug. 20, 1959, in Manitowoc, to Marlene Brockman Thomsen and the late Glenn Thomsen, he attended Valders High School and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1981.

He grew up helping his grandparents, Fred and Marion Brockman, publishers of the Valders Journal, contributing as a reporter and photographer during high school and college. He assumed the role of editor soon after graduation and eventually became co-owner and publisher, succeeding his grandparents, who founded the newspaper in 1940.

Thomsen served on the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Board of Directors from 2009 to 2017, serving as president in 2016.
In 2019, the Valders Journal won Best in Division F in the WNA Better Newspaper Contest. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomsen accepted the award remotely.

“We couldn’t do this without a very dedicated staff — starting with my wife, Mary, my right hand woman,” he said. “She’s there late at night with me on Tuesday nights, late at night.”

The funeral was at 11 a.m. on April 6 at Faith Lutheran Church in Valders with the Rev. Dan Lyman officiating. Burial followed at Valders West Cemetery.

A luncheon followed in the church’s fellowship hall.