Thomas Koeniguer, age 75, of Milbank, SD, died on December 16, 2020, at Wilmot Care Center.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, December 21, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Milbank. Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 20, at the church from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. A prayer vigil will begin at 7:00 p.m. Father Gary DeRouchey will celebrate the Mass, and burial will be at St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery.
Thomas “Tom” Gustav Koeniguer was born in Webster, SD, on January 5, 1945, to the late Ernest T. Koeniguer and Ruby I. (Snook) Koeniguer. Tom grew up in Bristol, SD, and the surrounding prairies where he spent summers working on the family farm. At the age of 15, he rode a train to Chicago to attend pinsetter school. He later returned home and set to work at the family-owned business, Capital Lanes, where he spent many hours in the bowling alley, as well as in the family theater. Tom had an adventurous upbringing, which included being an active member in the “Tough Guy” gang and star center and guard for the Bristol Pirates. Many a listener have been fortunate to hear his exciting and spirited tales from his days in Bristol.
After high school graduation, Tom attended SDSU in Brookings, SD. He was drafted by the United States Army during the Vietnam War in September 1968. He went to Fort Lewis, Washington, for boot camp and AIT in Fort Sam Houston for medic training. Tom served in the 8th Army, 121 Evacuation Hospital in Korea for the next 15 months and was honorably discharged in April 1970.
Tom’s sister, Sharon, insisted that he should meet her roommate, Maxine; they met, fell in love, and married on December 19, 1970.
Although Tom’s degree was in Biology, he had previously spent his summers working for the Milwaukee Railroad. After graduation, he was hired on full-time. He worked in management for the railroad and was eventually employed by the Burlington Northern. His career with the railroads took him all over the Midwest and he lived in Wahpeton, ND; Ipswich, SD; Aberdeen, SD; Jamestown, ND; Minneapolis, MN; Minot, ND; Gillette, WY; and Lincoln, NE.
When Tom retired, he moved back to Milbank, SD, with his lovely wife of 46 years, Maxine. A few of Tom’s favorite pastimes included hunting and fishing. It’s hard to know whether he logged more hours out in the fields or on the waters. Tom was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus and was always ready and willing to lend a hand wherever necessary. In 2010, Tom was Knight of the Year. In 2015, Tom and Maxine received Family of the Year. Both awards with the Milbank Knights of Columbus Council.
Tom is survived by his son, Michael (Dawn) of St. Cloud, MN; daughter, Amy (Brian) of Great Falls, MT; his grandchildren, who he adored spending time with – granddaughters: Isabella, Abriana, Karina and Ellissa; and his favorite grandson, Christian. Last, but not least, Tom leaves behind his morning coffee friends at Hardee’s where he often stated that he never really did enjoy the coffee, but he sure enjoyed the company.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Sharon; and wife, Maxine.