Please pray for all of the deceased in today's issue of The Gazette. Tom Schleder prayed for those individuals, for those who loved them, cared for them and cared about them. Tom Schleder died on Jan. 18, 2012, from an eight-year journey with adenocarcinoma, and praying was something he did every day. Pray along with Tom's family as we thank God for his life and the example he left for all of us.
Tom's space of time began on Aug. 10, 1950, when he was born to Arthur Schleder and Caroline Kovash in Aberdeen, S.D. He would be joined two years later by a brother, Wayne, and two years later a sister, Mary Kay. Art, Caroline, Tom, Wayne and Mary learned many values and lessons that shaped their lives. Hard work; faith in God; respect for people; belief in their goodness; belief in oneself while putting others first; admit your mistakes, learn from them and continue on. Practice your faith at all times and in all circumstances; never give up, no matter the obstacles.
Tom was welcomed into Heaven by the Communion of Saints, his parents and his wife of 34 years, Carrie Grace. Tom is survived by his brother, Wayne, and his wife, Lois, along with their children: Kate, Jill and Erin and their grandchildren Katlyn, Christopher and Landon. Tom is also survived by his sister, Mary Kay and her husband, Jerry and their children: Michelle and Adam and their grandchildren Alexander, Kathryn, Margaret.
It would be with all the values and lessons learned in his early years on the family farm and ranch in Columbia, S.D., when he entered St. Mary's University in Winona, Minn., graduating in 1972 with a BA degree in philosophy and sociology and a minor in psychology. In 1976, Tom earned a master of divinity degree from Aquinas Theological Institute from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.
In 1977, Tom and Carrie began their parish ministry at St. Anthony's in Laurel. In 1983, they would move to Rapid City, S.D., where they both would work at the Cathedral. In 1987, they moved to Hector, Minn., where Tom worked in the parishes of Bird Island, Hector and Lake Lillian, working in hospice, hospital ministry, bereavement, separation and divorce. In 1991, Tom and Carrie moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., working at Presentation Parish in Maplewood and St. John's in New Brighton. In 1999, they moved to Big Timber, working at St. Joseph's. In October 2004, they would move to Billings, where Tom would be blessed with becoming a member of the Pastoral Care Department at St. John's Lutheran Ministries. Tom learned valuable lessons from the residents, their families and staff of adding hope, love and dignity to the residents of SJLM. Tom became a model of never giving up, always putting others first, having faith in God, and respecting others while believing in oneself.
Tom also spent more than 25 years as an athletic official in college and high school football, basketball and baseball.
On Jan. 18, 2012, our loving and merciful God said to Tom, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Come into the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Your mom, dad, and wife along with the Communion of Saints want to embrace you."
Cremation has taken place.
Vigil service will be 7 p.m. Friday and memorial services 6 p.m. Saturday, both at the Mission Ridge Chapel.
Memorials may be made to RiverStone Hospice or Pastoral Care of St. John's Lutheran Ministries.
Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com.