Meet Tom of Good Shepherd
Tom is a man of many experiences. He was born November 19, 1934 and grew up as an only child on a farm ten miles northeast of Princeton. His mother was a rural school teacher for 25 years and was Tom’s teacher from fourth to eighth grade. He says she was a very good teacher. Her parents immigrated here from Germany in the early 1900’s. Tom’s father farmed on several acres of land. He is very proud of his father’s farming skills and the fact that he would rotate his fields before others did. His father’s parents immigrated here from Sweden and his grandpa was also a very good farmer.
Tom would take his black lab, Blackie, and his single shot rifle and go hunt striped gophers. Well, technically the dog was owned by the neighbors across the lake but never left the Benson house. Blackie followed Tom everywhere. He would even let Tom steady his gun on his shoulders as he knelt on his haunches.
In elementary school, Tom really liked running because it was very competitive. He had one chore at home that he looked forward to doing. He had to dig up worms and feed them to the chickens. They would get excited when they saw him coming with the fork full of works. Tom attended Princeton High School and got his driver’s license along the way. His dad purchased a brand new 49’ Ford Pickup and let Tom drive it. He graduated in 1952 and then went on to St. Cloud Technical College for 2 years but quit to drive cab for a while. Then he decided to move on to attend Drews Business College where he eventually met Lorraine Janski. In 1957 Tom joined the Army Reserve for 6 years. He spent 6 months on active duty and was discharged in 1963.
Tom and Lorraine were married June 1, 1959 and lived in a small house in the St. Augusta area until 1964 when they were given the opportunity to build their own house. Lorraine’s father helped them out with the land and the house in many ways. The only restriction was they had to build it the way he instructed. Tom was alright with that. The couple had three children; Jackie, Jody and Jeff. They now have 14 grandchildren as well. In 1978, Tom and Lorraine divorced after 19 years of marriage.
Over the years, Tom had office or clerical jobs around the St. Cloud area. He worked at Melrose Granite Company in 1958, Granite City Granite Company in 1960 and became Accounting Officer for Stearns County in 1969. Tom really enjoyed sports. From 1965-1980 he was an umpire for both amateur and high school baseball and softball along with several leagues like the American Legion Chutes, team. He was also a referee for 2 years of football and 1 year of varsity basketball. His true love however was baseball. He does remember doing something fun other than games. He went to California to visit his brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They were in the military and stationed there.
Tom came to live at Good Shepherd 17 years ago, after seeing an ad in the paper. He likes reading and enjoys having a library on campus. He’s glad the building managers have good life enrichment activities for him to participate in. His favorite food is mashed potatoes and gravy. Tom is a social guy and says “I get time to socialize when I go to the Oaks Dining Room for lunch and dinner.” We’re proud Tom calls Good Shepherd home.