Thomas C. Swentkofske

Swentkofske, Thomas C. age 84 of Cohasset, MN died peacefully in his home on June 2, 2020. Tom was born in 1935 and claims to have been in the first vehicle to travel to Remer on the newly blacktopped Hwy 6, following his birth in Grand Rapids to Claude & Georgia Swentkofske. He spent his early years in the woods and waters surrounding Remer until his family moved to Grand Rapids where he attended school and met Barbara Kaatiala, who became his wife of 54 years. Tom enlisted in the United States Marine Corp following the Korean War and served around the world in places such as Korea, Japan, Panama, and Puerto Rico. Tom was very proud to have been a marine and believed in the motto Semper Fi both as a marine and personally. Following his discharge, Tom graduated from the MN School of Business with a degree in Sales & Advertising, after which, he returned to Grand Rapids, married Barb, and worked for 35 years in various capacities for the Blandin Paper Company. Tom and Barb immersed themselves in raising their family, supporting their kids with a deft touch in all their various endeavors. Tom & Barb shared many adventures and travelled extensively in retirement; and spent their winters for several years in San Diego. Tom was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Add Temple Shrine, a past Elder and Trustee of the Community Presbyterian Church, one of the founders and past president of the Itasca Community College Foundation, and past president of the GRAHA. Tom was an avid outdoorsman throughout his life and enjoyed (particularly with family and close friends) camping and canoeing, angling and spearing fish, hunting ducks and upland birds, deer, caribou, elk, trapping, picking wild rice, boiling sap, planting trees, and raising ducklings to release into the wild. It is fair to say that Tom's smoked lake trout is second to none, and wisely, he got the Harbor Restaurant's onion ring recipe before they closed. If you didn't know how to play cribbage or gin rummy, he would be happy to teach you for a fee of course. Tom's love of everything outdoors and his penchant for wheeling and dealing led to a long career in antique duck and fish decoy collecting. He collected long enough that several items passed through his collection 2 or 3 times over the years. A hallmark of any trade with Tom is that both sides usually came away thinking they got the best of the deal. Tom was a people person and he enjoyed chatting and getting to know people wherever he went, always giving new acquaintances the benefit of the doubt regarding their character. He especially enjoyed meeting and getting to know the friends, families, and pets of his children, and considered all of them as his extended family. If we vouched for someone, that was more than good enough for him. Preceded in death by his wife Barbara, and twin sisters Jackie and Kitty, and younger sister Sandy. Tom is survived by his brother Dan (Marlene) Swentkofske; his daughters Janet (Peter) Sparen and Julie (John) Wilharm, his son Steve (June) Swentkofske; grandchildren Katie (Will) Bernhjelm, Sara Wilharm, Lindsey Wilharm (Lucas Graves), Sam Sparen, Jane (Tony) McCartney, Henry (Emily) Swentkofske, Gordon Swentkofske; and great grandchildren Elizabeth, Graham, Leo, Zyla, Wes, Hadley, & Bristol; numerous nieces, nephews, and countless friends. A family celebration of life will be held for Tom later this summer. Memorials preferred to the Hazel-den Betty Ford Foundation or the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. Arrangements are with Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids. Condolences: