Tom was born in Benson, Minnesota to Norwegian immigrants and graduated from Benson High in 1965. Instead of being drafted into the war effort, he took the initiative to join the U.S. Navy and became a radio operator, floating into some of the most active areas of Vietnam during that war. He was very proud of his service in the military and spent many years working in association with the American Legion and VFW.
Tom went to college at Normandale and Mankato State for journalism. He loved crafting a story and creating a narrative. His style was whimsical and folksy and was written for the every man. He spent decades working in the radio game as an announcer and making his name in the world of local sports in various locations across Minnesota and North Dakota. He was the Sports Editor of the Williston Herald (Williston, ND) for over 30 years and continued to work as a columnist even years after his “retirement.”
His fingers never really stopped writing those stories about the lives of those in Williston and the goings-on such as Band Day and the Chokecherry Festival. He was integral in the formation of the Sports and Recreation show in Williston annually, which is still going strong. Tom gave much to the community of Williston. Too much of importance to even begin to put in this short, too short, mention of his lifelong list of accomplishments. https://www.willistonherald.com/news/williston/scoping-it-out/article_6fdaf44a-3025-11ed-973e-830937d5bda5.html
He left North Dakota with his wife, Linda, in 2012 to return to her hometown of Milaca, Minnesota to set up roots once again there. Here they became a fast part of their community, making lasting friendships and taking care of their extended family in the area.
Tom made the Christmases of many of the children in the U.S. in his guise of Santa Claus, his favorite roll of all time. He was proudest of his portrayal of the jolly man and spent innumerable Christmas Eves driving around to surprise children and families. His experience of playing the role was full circle, in that he played Santa on the Santa Show on KUMV-TV in Willison for several years reading letters from children and answering the eternal question of: “….and what would you like for Christmas?” He also performed as a professional mall Santa in Cincinnati, OH where he spent years hobnobbing with the likes of Marge Schott and having thousands of children settle on his lap for hours at a stretch. These were the happiest of years.
He was the most reverent of sports fans and kept up diligently with the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings, even when it hurt. Tom was a proud father of three children and one granddaughter, as well as an uncle and great/great-great uncle. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda; his three children, Jennifer Kvamme, John Thomas Kvamme (Kimberly), and Jill Hoffman (David); his granddaughter, Emersyn; his sisters, Barbara Torkelson (Lowell), Donna Paulson, Marlene Kvamme, and Sharon Wrobleski; and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces/nephews, and great-great nieces/nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Olaf and Denah (Simonson) Kvamme; and his sister, Norma Wrobleski.
His public viewing will be held Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Peterson-Johnson Funeral Home in Milaca, MN from 1-2 PM to allow for his friends and family time to visit before his military burial at Fort Ripley in Little Falls, MN on Friday morning with family and close friends of the family. His memorial service will be held at 2 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 735 2nd St SE, Milaca, MN, followed by bars and coffee. Visitation will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church from 1 -2 PM on Friday. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Wounded Warriors.
Tom wrote a final column in late December, and made these notes: “For now, the old fingers have reached the max and then some. That means, till the next time we meet again, be kind to one another.” As he said in many a “Scoping It Out” column about friends who passed before him: “May he Rest in Peace!”