Tom was born June 18, 1939, in Grand Forks, North Dakota to Evelyn Amelia Glockner and Helmer Kenneth Skadeland. Tommy was raised in an extended family of cousins and aunts who gathered frequently at the Glockner family home around a piano, in the formal parlor, or outdoors on the front porch sleeping away hot summer nights.
Tommy called Lake Julia, north of Bemidji, Minnesota, his most special place of his childhood, where his mother, her sisters, and cousins spent every summer in the family cottage. He described the experience as a symphony of joyous daily routines: racing to the dock, throwing open the boathouse, and setting sail in the little red rowboat… repeat. He said he rowed his heart out every day.
Tom credited most of his athletic success to the joys of emulating his older brother Kenn. He was inducted into the first Minot Magician Athletic Hall of Fame as a basketball player and national ranking high jumper. He played for the Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball team, where his first wife Elizabeth (Myhre) and he began their family in Minneapolis with the first three children: Patricia, Paula, and Daniel. Tales from his high school and college years range from living in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house across the street from the Bob Dylan, hanging in the Gopher athletic training facility with Herb Brooks, the 1980 head coach of the gold medal US hockey team, missing an opportunity to compete in the Olympic track and field trials due to an undelivered invitation, and playing a brief journeyman role for the Minnesota Lakers
As a businessman, Tom successfully climbed the corporate ladder in the field of computer data system sales and this led his family to Houston, Texas, where their last child Peggy was born; later to Chicago, Illinois; and finally to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No matter the extended distance, Tom annually drove his family to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins way up north to Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana. Tom outfitted these road trips with customized vans and CB radios so that all could have a fun time with the Smokey and the Bandit lingo.
Tom and Elizabeth eventually graduated their four children through the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, and later he evolved his career into corporate head hunting until retiring from this field in the late 1980s. .
Staying active as an athlete was a lifelong passion of Tom’s as he frequented local weight rooms maintaining the athlete in the old man. He amusingly agreed to be a part of a health club ad campaign with the phrase: Train To Be An Old Man. Writing historical and crime fiction was another passion of Tom’s that began with his love of history and love of a good crime story.
Tom married Jeannette (Atkins) on Valentine’s Day in 1989. They built their home on the Schuylkill River in Norristown, PA, where they shared the love of water, picnicking on the deck, and slumber parties with the grandchildren watching Rocket Gibraltar, a movie famous for a scene where a salty aging patriarch convinces his grandchildren to give him a proper Viking style farewell upon his death.
While living on the river’s edge gave Nettie and Tom nature’s seasonal wonders at arms reach, it also gave them nature’s fury and flood. His son Dan answered the urgent phone calls many times to help his father move furniture upstairs away from the rising waters. For thirty plus years, he and Nettie watched the river together until failing health separated them. Nettie went into the hospital during Covid, and Tom eventually became her roommate in Norriton Square Nursing and Rehab Center until his death on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at the age of 82.
Tom is survived by his wife, Jeanette (Atkins) Skadeland, Norristown, PA; his former wife, Elizabeth (Myhre) Skadeland, Royersford, PA; and their children: daughter, Patricia Luetzen, Polson, MT, and her children Danielle (Carter) Rowney, great grandsons Anders and Brooks, and Kent Luetzen; daughter Paula (Richard) Blake, Hagerstown, MA, and their children Thomas, Nicholas, and Andrew; son Daniel (Kathy) Skadeland, Phoenixville, PA, and his daughter Samantha; and daughter Peggy (Hank) Julicher, Phoenixville, PA, and their children Alexis (JJ ) Hennessy, great grandsons Jeremiah and Asher, and Brooke (Mike) Linn, great granddaughter Eleanor, and Kyle, Nicole, and Chase Julicher. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Joey Matthews, Columus, NJ.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Helmer and Evelyn Skadeland, his brother, Kenn Skadeland, sister-in-law, Kay Skadeland, nephew Donn Skadeland, Williston, ND, son-in-law Rand (Patricia) Luetzen,Berthold, ND, and brother-in-law Paul (Joey) Matthews, Columbus, NJ.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. An online guest book is available on the Volpe Funeral Home website in Norristown, PA. Please share memories to celebrate Tom’s life.
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