Tom Tornow: 1955-2022
Thomas “Tom” Reynold Tornow, Madison, S.D., passed away Sunday morning, Oct. 9 with his wife by his side and his children close by, at the age of 67.
Tom was born March 4, 1955, to Art & Matilda (Huber) Tornow in Parkston, S.D. He grew up on a very special “legacy” farm in Emery, S.D.
He graduated in 1973 from Emery High School. Tom thrived in football, basketball, baseball and track. Tom had great memories of his high school years; one dearest to his heart was winning the 1973 basketball State B tournament. He graduated from SDSU in wildlife and biology and worked in that field. He retired from the US Fish & Wildlife Service after serving in Utah, Montana, and South Dakota for 35 years.
Tom was a catalyst for the conservation community. He was instrumental in the preservation of wetlands and grasslands; especially the “Harvey Dunn” Grassland Preservation Project. After retirement, Tom continued to write grants and secure funds for grasslands. He was awarded the Wildlife Professional of the Year from the SD Chapter of the Wildlife Service, among many other awards.
Tom’s kind and gentle heart was for his faith, family, and friends, always helping where he could. He was humble and found sanctuary in all forms of fishing and hunting. He truly adored nature and had a profound love for his Lord.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 40 years; daughter, Meranda (Adam) Van Ningen of Raleigh, N.C.; two sons, Ted (Alissa) Tornow of Harrison, S.D. and Kent (fiancée Kiersten Webber) Tornow of Sioux Falls, S.D.; six grandchildren: Blake and Piper Van Ningen, Autumn, Alanna, and Theo Tornow, and Ainsley Webber; three siblings: Julianne Huber of Freeman, S.D., Gerry (Marie) Tornow and Bob Tornow both of Seattle, Wash.; two brothers-in-law, Cliff (Gerri) Wrobetz of Townsend, Mont., and Donald Wrobetz of Eugene, Ore.; along with many nieces, nephews and very dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Art and Matilda (Huber) Tornow; in-laws, Lawrence and Irene (English) Wrobetz; and brothers-in-law, Orville Huber and Larry Wrobetz.
A private family visitation and committal will be at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Clayton, S.D. A celebration of life is Monday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m., at Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison, with visitation one hour prior to the service. Online guestbook is at www.rustandweilandfuneral.com. Arrangements are entrusted with Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, please give memorials to The Gideon’s International, go to www.gideons.org/donate or Leah’s Kids, 46031 239th St., Wentworth, SD 57075 or www.leahskids.org/donate or to a mission of your choice.