Thomas "Tom" C. H. Silbaugh - Father's Day - 2013 - In Memoriam
- Published on Friday, 15 June 2012 17:07
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
When you were born on a farm near Ortonville in Bigstone County, Minnesota 5 June 1907, you were the 13th child of Enoch A. Silbaugh and Mollie Lillian Moore. Obviously being the 13th child was not an unlucky event.
Dad, you passed away very unexpectedly in 1988 while June and I were in Sacramento, CA to attend a forensic science conference. It was late in the day on July 3rd and shortly after June and I had checked into our hotel at the Hyatt Regency that we received the sad news of your passing. We immediately booked the first return flight home.
Although you had struggled with Emphysema for several years, it was an unexpected heart attack that took you away. You were age 81 at the time of your passing. It was just the day before that you had checked into the Barron Memorial Medical Center.
Although you were my mother Ellen’s third husband, you were probably her greatest blessing!
My natural father Royce "Mike" Candler married my mother in September of 1927 and deserted my mother and me shortly after my birth in June 1928. I never met my natural father.
My first step father, Percy Berg married my mother when I was age 4. Percy was an alcoholic who drank up what little money the family had and died an early death from a cancer of the throat and stomache. It was while Percy Berg was at the Wisconsin General Hospital in Madison that he made your acquaintance. It was also through this encounter that you met my mother Ellen. You assisted Percy in keeping Mother updated on Percy’s health status. Percy was in and out of the Madison General Hospital in his cancer struggle during the several months preceding and ending with his death on 16 December 1942.
I was age 14 and a freshman in high school at the time of Percy's death. The nation was in the midst of WWII as the Pearl Harbor attack had just taken place the December a year prior while I was in the middle of my 8th grade class at the little country grade school I attended. Because of Percy’s heavy drinking and smoking problems and his resulting sickness, my mother and I were left to run the small 20 acre dairy farm alone.
At my mother’s invitation, following your offer of help, you arrived in Rice Lake in early 1943. At the time you had very little by way of earthly possessions, no car, and little cash but with a big heart and lots of enthusiasm. You had to hitch a ride to our farm on the river road south of Rice Lake. A friendly milk hauler dropped you off at our driveway during a snow storm. I remember watching you wade through the drifts in the driveway as you approached the house with a big smile on your face. You ended up with the small upstairs bedroom next to mine for your first year in our home. In addition to running the small farm you quickly utilized a special talent for sales. For a time you also sold electric fencers and Mason Shoes to the local farmers.
In June of 1945, you married my mother. Your successful sales efforts later evolved into the sale of Packard’s, Jeeps and General Motors cars. You were of the “Early to Bed and Early to Rise” mentality. What you lacked in education you more than made up for by your enthusiasm, good nature and hard work.
You later orgainized, created and operated a small country general store on a county road corner near Arland called "Wayside Grocery". The commercial post WWII Jeeps were also optionally equipped with "power takeoff's" for farm use...you sold so many to the local farmers that the corner became known as "Jeep-Town".
For the first time I had a father who set a good example! You were a hard worker with an even tempered disposition...I do not ever recall seeing you display periods of anger or resort to crude language...your countenance was most always one of a smile.
You also displayed a knack for administrative ability and later served as Office Manager in Rice Lake for the Mathison Tire Co. and Later Office Manager at the Rice Lake Cash Register and Typewriter Co. Your deteriorating health required you take a retirement in 1982 at age 75.
You were able to give my mother the good life that she so richly deserved but had never before enjoyed, including a home on a lake for 25 of the over 43 years you two were together. Dad, you and mother also enjoyed a very active and enjoyable social life together with your many friends until the Lord called you home in 1988.
Dad, I must thank you for introducing me to June Rolstad when I was home on leave from the Army in May of 1951. As a result of this meeting, June and I went on to have a life long 56 year relationship as husband and wife. June became the love and light of my life and may well have also been the greatest blessing of my life! You and God must have teamed up on arranging that meeting for June and I.
The grand children also have pleasant memories of the part you played in their lives.
Susan remembers: “I have so many good memories of Grandpa Tom. He was a very important part of my life and went out of his way to spend time with us children…one of my earliest memories was him waking me up around 4:30 in the morning (Lake Home) so we could head out to the Diner for early morning breakfast. He always “showed me off” to his friends at the diner and when we got back to the house, everyone else was just getting up, he would say “Good Afternoon” to them. We always laughed as we had been awake for hours!”
Julie remembers: “I remember Grandpa Tom had fishing poles for all of us kids at their lake home. I remember mine was light yellow. I really looked forward to going fishing with him. I also remember when he came to the Cities to visit; he would take me over to Snyder’s for a treat. That was when they used to have restaurant booths. He would also buy us cap guns at Snyder’s around the 4th of July. .
Dan remembers: I remember Grandpa Tom’s quiet demeanor and his steady hand on the outboard motor when he would take us for boat rides in the small bay in front of their home on Prairie Lake…and for longer excursions out beyond the Bay. I do know we caught lots of Sunfish and Crappies…that Grandpa Tom “let” us keep and clean even the smallest of them as best we could… he probably had to redo them so they were fit for our lunch.”
David who is now with you remembers: The first time David ever fished with a casting rod and reel was with Grandpa Tom…”I was quite amazed to watch him. Before he showed me how, I had always fished with a cane pole. I remember being out on his boat on Prairie Lake casting for Northern Pike. He caught one. I learned to cast and ended up with a lifelong hobby that I have always enjoyed.”
Thank You Father – Thank You Grandpa – We all love you and miss you!
Stan and the Grandchildren
Note: Although my father Tom was not personally a victim of Alzheimer's, he never-the-less had close family members that were victim's of this terrible diseases...two of the most iportant people in his life died as victims of this disease. Tom's wife Ellen and his daughter in law June (My mother and my wife) died after losing their battle and struggle with this desease that always comes up the winner. My mother Ellen died October 21st, 2007 and my wife June died October 23rd, 2008. Please visit June's story as found on this website on the top navigation strip on the drop down menus found under the labels of "June's Life" and "June and Alzheimer's". Click the below link for her Alzheimer's story...
This "In Memoriam" story of my step-father Thomas "Tom" Silbaugh was first published in the weekly edition of the Barron News-Shield on Wednesday June 13th, 2012, at Barron, Wisconsin for Father's Day Sunday June 17th, 2012.
This "In Memoriam" story was republished for Father's Day 2013 in the Barron News-Shield on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 for Father's Day Sunday June 16th, 2013.
It was my father Tom who first intoroduced me to June K. Rolstad in the spring of 1951 when I was home on Leave from the Army Counter Intelligence Corp. I am forever indebted to my father for this introduction...June became the love of my life and my wife for 56 years before Alzheimer's took her away from me...I have often wondered if our meeting arranged by my father Tom could have been a "Divine Appointment"...for this complete story, please follow the below link:
Marilyn Singer –Bothell,Washington - (16 June 2012): “This is such a poignant testimony of how one can overcome their circumstances. God truly blessed you and your mother with Tom, not only in providing a good husband and father, but to introduce you to your soul mate. Thank you for sharing, Stan.”
Richard Criscione - Cliffside Park, New Jersey - (15 June 2013): "Quite beautiful Stan , and it explains your appreciation for the goodness of your loved ones . I too, lost my Dad at an early age, and wish , I had a "Tom Silbaugh " in my life ,after he passed ."
Buddy Bear - Dublin, Ireland - (15 June 2013): "Stanton what a good kind man your father was. It's years and years since I heard that saying Early to Bed, Early to Rise makes a man, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. My Granny Mary Nolan use to say this to me. A Beautiful Tribute to Thomas C.H. Silbaugh."
Linda Casey-Overholt - Coshocton, Ohio - (15 June 2013): "What a lovely tribute to your great dad, Stan!!"
After an almost 11 year struggle with Alzheimer's, God took an exhausted June to her heavenly home...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - or Click on:
Mother Ellen's Passing
For the story of my mother Ellen Silbaugh's life before she passed away from Alzheimer's in October 2007, please follow the below link for her funeral notice: