Cover photo for Thomas Michael Thelen's Obituary
Thomas Michael Thelen Profile Photo
1944 Thomas 2016

Thomas Michael Thelen

July 7, 1944 — March 23, 2016

Thomas Michael Thelen, age 71, a lifelong Two Inlets area resident, passed into eternal life on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at his home following a valiant battle against colon cancer with his loved ones at his side.  Tom was born on July 7, 1944 in Park Rapids, MN as the 9th child born to Joe and Hortense (Woeste) Thelen.  He grew up on his family’s farm in Savannah Township of Becker County north of Two Inlets where he learned the value of hard, honest work and responsibility on the family farm. He also started helping his dad with logging at the early age of nine.  He attended country school through the 6th grade and then went to school in Park Rapids graduating with the Class of 1962.  As a young man, Tom entered the United States Air Force where he proudly served his country, stationed at the Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine.  After receiving his honorable discharge in 1968, he returned to Two Inlets and commuted to Minneapolis where he worked construction for a time.  He then embarked on a lifelong career of working outdoors harvesting timber, a job he loved.  Later on he also enjoyed working with the crew at Two Inlets Mill.  His life was made complete in his marriage to Winnie Pence on June 5, 1971 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Two Inlets.  Tom was a lifelong member of St Mary’s Catholic Church where he was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.  He was a respected community leader who served as the Chairman of the Savannah Township board for nearly 40 years.  Tom was loved by his immediate and large extended family.  He enjoyed mentoring his loved ones and teaching them how to hunt, fish, trap, harvest wild rice and play cards.  Tom took pride in his cooking skills, frequently preparing fish and wild game for grateful family and friends.  He was a gifted listener whose advice was often sought.  He was a wise peacemaker who had great skill in resolving conflict and bringing people together.  Most of all, Tom will be remembered for his love and devotion to his precious wife, Winnie for over 44 years, his daughters, his grandchildren and his large extended family.    He is survived by his wife, Winnie; his daughters: Elizabeth Thelen of Fargo, ND, Rebecca (Jackie MacMillan) of Duluth, MN and Rachel Thelen of Park Rapids, MN; 5 grandchildren: Mya, Victoria and Gabby Sharp, Nickolas and Eva Brunfelt; 11 siblings: Marie Kueber, Joe (Barb) Thelen, Fran Morris, Pat (Jim) Boyd, Bob (Cheryl) Thelen, Adeline (Gary Geller) Retz, Norma Thelen, Carol (Russell) Schwartz, Christine (Duane) Kueber, Vicky (Kirk) Dittmer and Virginia (Glen) Anderson; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Tom was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters: Catherine Schoen, Margaret Thelen and Donna Anderson and one brother, Loren Thelen. Funeral mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 AM Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at St Mary’s Catholic Church at Two Inlets with Father Tom Friedl officiating.  The organist will be Mary Schmitz and the music will be led by the St. Mary’s Choir.  The casket bearers will be: Rick Boyd, Jamie Dietman, William Retz, Nick Kueber, Andy Thelen, Martin Hillberg, Brad Brunfelt and Blain Anderson.  The honorary casket bearers will be Tom’s grandchildren.  Interment will be made in the St. Mary’s Cemetery.  The St Mary’s Guild will host a lunch following the service.  Visitation will be held from 5:30 – 8 PM at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home with a rosary service at 7 PM and will continue Wednesday morning beginning one hour prior to the service at the church.
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