Thomas Stephenson

Thomas Stephenson, 77 of Norwalk IA passed away 08/08/2020 at Iowa Methodist Medical Center after a short battle COVID-19. “Tom” entered into peace surrounded by brave Doctors & Nurses of Unity Point Health as Family had been restricted from physical contact due to Coronavirus Pandemic. Immediate family, American Legion Post #562 and Patriot Guard members will attend a burial service by McLaren’s on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Norwalk Cemetery.

Thomas was born in Moorhead Minnesota November 1942 to Edgar and Joyce Stephenson née Ellefson. They moved to Detroit Lakes after his brother Terry was born. “Slim” graduated Detroit Lakes High School in 1961. Tom loved to work on projects in his father’s wrecking yard with family and friends. Tom entered the US Air Force in 1963, serving with distinction and was honorably discharged in 1967. Thomas found love with Patricia Lane in Minnesota through mutual friends (Joe & Sharon Westerholm; Arlin & Wanda Wolf) and married her in Iowa in July 1967. They welcomed their first child, Michelle, in 1970 while living in the Blaine area of Minneapolis. Two years later, their second child, Michael, was welcomed. Tom earned a degree in Mechanical Drafting with Dunwoody Institute, & worked for W.S. Nott and Beuhler Corp. while in the Twin Cities. Tom purchased a NAPA Auto Parts franchise and the family moved north to Menahga MN where Tom & Pat ran the store. “NAPA” in the Finnish language is Belly Button which always made for a good joke around town. Tom feeling the pressure of family life coupled with owning a small business sold the store and became the Service Manager at Thielen Motors in Park Rapids. They moved to Pat’s family farm just West of Cumming Iowa in the late 70’s when Tom had an opportunity to join the 3E Electrical Engineering & Equipment Co. as a draftsman and salesman. After working with 3E for many years Tom decided to start his own business called Central Drafting and Design in Cumming Iowa & partnered with many businesses around Iowa on projects great and small. Tom was also a dispatcher with Amoco Motor Club, and after they closed, he enrolled at DMACC & drove cross country with the CDL he earned working with many trucking companies as he saw the USA (he would occasionally cuss New Jersey’s roads).

Shortly after a fishing trip to Canada with his son & grandson Tom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and that would limit the amount of mobility he was allowed, but not dampen his spirits when interacting with friends and family. Tom & Pat Stephenson Celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary July 2017. Tom always enjoyed helping his family and friends with cars throughout the years and would often give of himself freely to others in the community. Tom had a smile and laugh that was always described as boisterous and infectious.

A beloved son, brother, husband, father, uncle, great-uncle and grandfather, Tom will be missed by his Stepmother Joyce (Richard) Severson; Brothers & Sisters Terry (Sue) Stephenson {Troy & Linette Stephenson}; Al & Tammy Peterson née Stephenson {Sasha Peterson, and Trent Peterson}, Tim & Debbie Sanden {Sarah Sanden, Rachel Sanden}, Larry & Shallene Stephenson {Dillon Cole}, Irene Johnson née Stephenson {Travis Stanton, Justin Stanton, Blake Johnson, Taylor Johnson}, Mark and Sue Prouty née Stephenson {Max Prouty, Maria Prouty}; his wife of 53 years Patricia; his daughter and Son in Law Michelle & Joe Peterson née Stephenson, and his Son and Daughter in Law with their two children Michael & Dana Stephenson née Fraundorfer {Michael Jr. & Danika}. He is preceded in death by his Father Col. Edgar Stephenson, and Mother Joyce Sanden.

The family deeply mourns Tom’s departure and believe his loss due to COVID-19 was preventable. They trust that Iowans, Minnesotans, and indeed all Americans, will make better choices overall; but more importantly in representative leaders who will care for and about the people they serve, and who will listen to the experts and make wise decisions based on guidance from respected men and women in their fields. Celebration of life to be held in Norwalk 2021.

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