Thomas ‘TV Tom’ Thoen

The man known to many in west central Wisconsin as TV Tom, also known lovingly as “Paps” to his children, “Papa” to his grandchildren, and the “Old Fart” to his wife, signed off at the age of 72 on March 14, 2022 in Hastings, Minnesota.

Thomas Edward Thoen was born at home outside of River Falls, Wisconsin on November 10, 1949. According to him, he was the fourth youngest born to George and Agnes Thoen. Full of curiosity, he and his brothers and sisters constantly got into mischief daring each other to eat a whole raw onion, playing baseball in cow pastures and messing with a skunk, just to name a few.

Tom graduated from River Falls High School in 1968, and having a passion to fix things, went on to technical school in Eau Claire, where he met his love, Barbie, at The Bar. Tom was warmhearted, hilarious and generous; who wouldn’t love that?

It didn’t take long for them to marry as they wed in 1973. They moved to Anoka, Minnesota and started a life there when Jeremy was born in 1975. They moved back to Wisconsin and settled in Prescott with the sole purpose of opening his own business, Tom’s TV, in downtown Prescott in 1977.

Their daughter Melanie arrived in 1978, and Nick in 1980. In March of 1983, they moved into a house that had a shop so that Tom could run his business from home. That configuration worked for many years until 2017 when Tom gave up his almost 50 years of the TV fixing business for good due to health reasons.

Tom was involved in so many things in Prescott. He became a proud member of Lion’s Club in 1980.  His children have fond memories of wearing his Lion’s vest with the 9,000 pins fashioned to it.

His love for playing baseball led to coaching tee-ball in 1980 for not only his children, but also other children for several years. He also was an avid bowler and card player with family and friends.

In 1998, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Prescott Chamber of Commerce for all of his service to the community over the years. Tom was a school bus driver for Prescott School District and  Hastings School District for years. Both he and the kids who rode the bus enjoyed interacting and laughing together.

He was the Grand Marshal at the Prescott Daze Parade in 2002, and hooked up the PA sound system downtown for the Prescott Daze Parades and Christmas music.

His involvement in Lorraine’s Lonely Heart Club and the Great River Road Theater were activities he adored because he loved helping his friends, Lorraine Eichman and Judy Johnson.

Tom was also a collector of junk. He loved auctions and the junk that came with it. He would say, “You think it’s junk; I can make something out of it.”

There also was not a place on this Earth that Tom couldn’t take a nap. His children would try to turn the channel during one of his many naps (accompanied by his classic puff snoring). He would always wake up and say, “Hey, I was watching that!”

It was difficult to get through a conversation with Tom without hearing him say: “Pert near” for distance, “In my book..,” and “good enough for government work” when doing projects. His children recall a childhood filled with other classic dad-isms: pull my finger! Or the joke with which he’d always trick his youngest. “Nick, a train just went through!”   “How can you tell, dad?” “It left its tracks.” Cue the groaning from the kids in the back seat of the car.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, George and Agnes. His sisters Janet, Gwen, Sharon, Diane, and his brothers Ronnie and David.

He is survived by his wife, Barb, and children Jeremy, Melanie (Scott) and Nick (Katie). He is also survived by his brothers George and Mike Thoen and his sister Leann (Donnie) Sorenson. His most honored and cherished role was that of papa to Mikayla (Ty) and great grandpa to Mia, Scarlett and Demetrius. And of course, a loving grandfather to Gavin and Isabel and Callen and Lowen. They all endured Papa’s tickling and corny jokes.

Donations are not expected. In fact, Tom would have loved for you to sit with a friend at the “gossip shop” (Ptacek’s IGA) and swap stories about him. But if you feel compelled to donate, please give to the Lions Eye Bank of WI or to Camp Lakota at WI Lions Camp (Camp for kids with Type 1 diabetes) in honor of Tom.

A special note from his family: We would often joke about taking dad out to the back 40, but he will be remembered properly at a Celebration of Life at The Old Ptacek’s in Prescott on April 9, 2022 from 2-6pm. We ask that you type or handwrite a story/memory of Tom, which you may bring to the Celebration or mail to O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Prescott, as he has so many stories that he’s shared with us over the years and we would love to hear your stories about him. His grandchildren have so much yet to learn about him. He loved making people laugh, and now it’s our turn to make each other laugh at his past antics in his honor.

Services are entrusted to O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Prescott, www.oconnellfuneralservices.com, 715-262-5404

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