HARTINGTON — Thomas Joseph Kathol, 78, Hartington, died unexpectedly Sept. 3, 2023, while tending to his cattle.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was Sept. 11 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, with the Rev. Owen Korte ociating.
Burial of his cremated remains was at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Hartington, with military rites by the Hartington VFW Post #5283 and the American Legion Riders.
Visitation and a Vigil Service, with the family, was Sunday, at church, and continued Monday, one hour prior to services.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Wintz Funeral Home, Hartington.
Tom was born March 27, 1945, in Hartington, to Ralph John and Ursula Elizabeth (Heimes) Kathol and was raised on the family farm one mile east of Hartington. He attended Holy Trinity Elementary and Holy Trinity High School, graduating in 1963. After graduation he attended one year of Divinity School at Conception Abbey, Mo. He came back to Hartington and worked on the family farm until he joined the National Guard from July 1965-February 1966. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1967 and served as a crew chief with a helicopter combat unit in Vietnam from December 1967-February 1969. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and honorably discharged in November 1970. After the service, Tom worked as a cabinet maker for a construction company in Oklahoma City. He married Frances Marie Koman July 29, 1972, and they had one daughter, Talitha Ann. Tom was severely injured in a head-on motor vehicle accident Dec. 8, 1979, which left him disabled. After a lengthy recovery, he went to work for Vision Quest, a wagon train for at-risk youth. Tom took care of the wagons and horses, teaching young men how to care for animals and repair equipment. The wagon train traveled from Florida to Pennsylvania during the summer months. After his time with the wagon train, he spent several years in Pennsylvania, where he was known locally as “Tractor Tom.” His brothers and sisters moved him back to Nebraska after a bad snow mobile accident in 2006. He settled permanently in Hartington in 2012.
Tom was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Hartington, where he kept his holy hours. He always sat up front at Mass and helped cantors lead the songs.
Tom loved his horses and long horns and would spend many nights sleeping under the stars. Many people were recipients of his home-made cards and envelopes.
His passion was youth baseball and attending all high school sporting events in Wynot, Hartington Public, and Cedar Catholic. Tom was “The All-American Sports Fan.”
Tom is survived by his daughter, Talitha Ann Kathol-Falconer, Oklahoma City, Okla.; nine siblings and spouses, Phyllis Patton, Chicago, Ill.; Connie (Jerry) Kaiser, Billings, Mont.; Max (Essie) Kathol, Wayne; Glenn (Rosemary) Kathol, Hartington; Ruth Browne, Durham, N.C.; Mary (Chuck) Reece, Dallas, Texas; Kelly (Giuseppina) Kathol, Los Angeles, Calif.; Carrie (Steve) Heine, Wynot; Carla (Jim) Rooney, Kansas City, Kan.; sisters-in-law, Lorraine Kathol, Sutton, and Pamela Kathol, Lenexa, Kan.; 33 nephews and nieces and many great-nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph, March 19, 2007, and mother, Ursula, Oct. 18, 2009; three brothers, Victor, Cliord and Joseph; and one niece,