Age 94 of Bald Eagle
Tom was born May 23, 1926 in St. Paul, and died peacefully and of natural causes on October 21, 2020. He was generous, humble, a delight to know, and loved by all. A gifted athlete and artisan builder who was always ready to lend a hand.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of twenty-one years Ida, children Paul (Carol) of White Bear Lake, Ross (Deborah Koff) of Whidbey Island, WA, Steve (Kiesy Strauchon) of Port Townshend, WA, and Evelyn (Mark) Duvall of White Bear; grandchildren Eric (Brooke) Jameson, Katie (Benji) Copan, Andie and Aleah (Chris Rodriguez) Chapin, Qwill, Julia and Jessica Duvall, and great grandchildren Gerard and Sam Miller (Jessica’s children). He was a beloved step parent to Ida’s children, Pam (Tim) Kurtz of St. Paul, Gregg (Vicky) of Zap, ND, and Jacques Batroot of St. Paul; grandchildren Nick (Lisa) Kurtz, Matt (Emily) Batroot, and Megan (Kyle) Knop, and great grandchildren Maddy and Samantha Kurtz, and Bronwen Batroot. Preceeded in death by first wife Anzle, siblings Don, Doris Lizee, and Ken, along with parents Harold and Hertha.
Tom grew up on Bald Eagle, the youngest of four children. His future first wife Anzle and her family summered next door. He attended the Beach School and was a proud 1944 graduate of White Bear High School where he played in the band and was a letterman, earning his ‘W’.
After graduation he enlisted in the US Army Air Force where he served active duty as a physical training instructor until his honorable discharge in 1945. Soon thereafter he enrolled at the University of Minnesota and graduated from the Institute of Technology as a mechanical engineer. His first jobs after graduation in 1949 were in Connecticut and Ohio. From there he moved back home and started with the Hamm Brewing Company in 1954 where he rose to the position of plant engineer. In 1974 he went to work at 3M until retirement in 1994.
Tom and Anzle were married at St. Mary of the Lake in 1951 and held their reception on the shores of Bald Eagle Lake. They bought their first house on the lake in 1954. They later moved to the family home on the southeast side of the lake that Evelyn and Mark now own. Anzle passed away in 1995 and a few years later, in 1999, he and Ida Batroot married. Ida’s late husband George and his siblings’ family were childhood friends of Tom and Anzle. It was a joyful union for both of their families.
Tom was a devoted and loving husband and father, and his children and grandchildren were always at the top of his list. Whether it was building projects, schoolwork, athletic events, or adventures, he was an active and interested dad and grandpa. He encouraged each of his children to pursue their own interests and would often do activities one on one with them, such as backpacking, backcountry skiing, alpine skiing, sailing, biking or road trips.
Tom loved his life at Bald Eagle Lake and enjoyed many sports, but most especially his life on skis, both water and snow. In the 1930s he and his friends would hike to the hills of the White Bear Yacht Club, especially the third hole, and it was there that he taught himself to snow ski. In his early twenties he spent the winter of 1948-49 as a ‘ski bum’ in early days of Aspen, Colorado. After Anzle passed away and he had retired, he again spent a couple of winters skiing in Aspen. This led to him buying his own condo that he and Ida enjoyed together. His family often visited them and each grandchild got to know the mountain trails quite well, thanks to their grandpa. He also volunteered as an Ambassador for the Aspen Ski Corporation, giving ski tours of the mountain and sharing stories of Aspen’s history. During those years he entered some local ski races, and also won the Masters National Downhill title held in Aspen in his early 70s age group.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he often took his young family to the local North Oaks Ski Club where they had a single rope tow. Wild Mountain opened in 1973 and he became a Ski Patroller. He, Paul and Evelyn also raced with The Ski Challenge at Wild Mountain and Buck Hill for many years. Tom skied until the age of 89, a remarkable run of approximately 80 years on snow.
Tom and Anzle first learned to water ski in 1949 on White Bear Lake and were among the founders of the Bald Eagle Water Club in 1953. He and other club members laid out the very first slalom course in the lake in 1954 and to this day skiers of all ages use and enjoy the course on a daily basis. The Water Club sponsored shows and tournaments from the beginning and Tom was an active and dedicated participant. He competed in slalom and trick skiing until his mid-eighties, winning many state, regional and national titles, and set state records, some of which are still unbroken. He was a founding member of the Minnesota Water Ski Association and is a member of their Hall of Fame.
Tom led a full and active life, and will be missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
The family would like to give special thanks to the wonderful caregivers at Home Instead, especially Norma Ensrud who has given so selflessly of her time, energy and love.
Due to Covid-19, a private funeral was held at St. Mary of the Lake with burial in the church cemetery. A memorial gathering for friends and family will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are being made with Mueller Memorial.