Thomsen was born in 1915 into a wealthy American family in Seattle. His namesake was after his grandfather a powerful Washington businessman. Charlie, his father was President of Centennial Mills (Krusteaz Brand) and a multi-millionaire at the turn of the 20th century. As detailed in his memoirs, his relationship with his father was extremely strained, with Thomsen describing the man as "tyrannical."
During World War II, Thomsen served as a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier in the Eighth Air Force. At age 44 he was working as a farmer in California when he decided to join the Peace Corps. In 1964, at 48 years old, Thomsen came to Ecuador as one of the first volunteers of the Peace Corps . Upon arrival, and after many wanderings, he was assigned on condition of agricultural expert to the small fishing town of Green River, north of the province of Esmeraldas . Thomsen lived for four years in that village, and a total of 35 years in Ecuador. After serving as a volunteer for four years, he remained in Ecuador. He died in 1991 of cholera. (Wikipedia, 2020-05-31)