Hugo Raunholt Thomsen, a Danish long time resident in Thailand passed away on 6 February 2012 only 56 years old. The following obituary is written by John Larsen, a friend of Hugo for the last 4 years of his life.
A life has ended, a passionate soul has left this earth. Hugo was from Jutland in Denmark, and that mean stubborn and “I do it my way”.
Hugo was a butcher in Denmark, but lost 2 fingers to a chainsaw, and after that he started to drive tourbus in Europe. But stress finally got the toe of him, and he got an early retirement. He went to Thailand, and started to look around.
He didn’t look for a partner in Thailand, but just a life in retirement, but as he put it :
“One day I was outside a 7/11 in Chiang Mai, and that wonderful big woman comes smiling towards me, and instantly I knew, she is my life.”
Nang became Hugos wife, and he became a loving stepdad to her kids, April and Jason, wich he later has adopted as his own. But being an early retired person in Thailand means a lot of time, and time is not necessarily of the good. Hugo was looking to do “something” and having been around in the outskirts of Chiang Mai, and seen a lot of schools in a miserable state, he decided to find one school, one project where he, with his limited resources would still be able to do a difference, create happiness, not richness.
Hugo found a project, but that project was governed from religion, not uniquely targeting the children and their needs, Nang told Hugo that many schools in that area was like this one, and needed someone who would lend a helping hand.
Hugo then found Koropo Klang school in Doi Law south of Chiang Mai. He made a deal with the school management about visits to the school, giving small trips to groups of the children there, some times Nang and Hugo would buy “better quality” meat, or he would provide them with ice cream and desserts.
That was Hugos main objective, to give the children one better day once in a while when he had the money to do that.
Hugo liked people, he was a very social person, and after some time in Chiang Mai, it was well known that, if you need to know about great places to visit in Chiang Mai province, call Hugo because he knows, and he will help.
Hugo extended that help to also help at the school, he invited guests from Scandinavia, who visited Chiang Mai to also visit the school, and some of his visitors paid a little money to Hugo, and he started to collect money to help the school getting better facilities, and finally he could help to build a library at the school, and even fill it with books.
The Danish community started to hear about Hugo and his work at the school, through the different community sites on the internet, and some suggested a webpage dedicated the school, and the work Hugo did there.
Around Christmas 2010, Hugo fell in hos bedroom and got a wound on his leg. Unfortunately it caught a severe infection, and Hugo was very sick for months. He never really regained full health, and was often sick in 2011. But he never forgot the school and the kids there, and whenever scandinavians visited Chiang Mai, Hugo would always find time to meet them, and greet them and take them to visit the landmark of Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep. After that Hugo would always suggest; let’s go and visit the school tomorrow!
Hugo knew what impact the school would have on Scandinavians. He had seen the greater tourist destinations in Thailand, and had lived in Scandinavian security, so taking visitors there always had a big impact. To see how the work progressed in renewing the classrooms. Meet with a bunch of happy kids, still very visible poor, but happy even the average income for a family with a kid in the Koropo Klang school is 126.- THB /day and happy even many of the kids are suffering from severe health problems and malnutrition.
It would bring tears in even the most hardened man visiting, when happy kids would run to greet them welcome to the Koropo Klang school of Doi Law.
The Danish community has lost a very honest and helpful man. Chiang Mai has lost a lighthouse. Hugo Raunholt Thomsen will be forever missed, by his wife Nang and his adopted kids Jason and April. Hugo will be missed as the speed talking, sometimes weird and stubborn Jutlandian guy in Chiang Mai with the big heart for anyone all over the Danish Thai community. And Hugo will be missed in a very small school, outside Chiang Mai where he made a difference to about 200 very poor and sick kids, by just being Hugo.
Hugo leaves behind two adult children in Denmark too.
Hugo Raunholt Thomsen, 27.03.1955 – 06.02.2012. May your soul rest in peace.