Thomas G. Lokken, 73, of Gwinn, Michigan, passed away on Thursday, April 17, 2008, with his family by his side.
He was born May 6, 1934, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to the late LaMonte T. and Irene M. Lokken. As an infant, the family moved to Superior Wisconsin, where Tom graduated from Superior Central High School in 1952 prior to entering the U.S. Air Force.
While stationed at RAF Bentwaters, England, he met and married a beautiful British girl, Daphne M. Harper, on April 5, 1957.
Over the next 30 years they, along with their six children, were stationed at several stateside and overseas bases. Tom came to be known as “The Mayor of Bentwaters” as they were stationed mainly at RAF Bentwaters and Woodbridge England for over 12 years covering four decades. They also spent a three-year tour at Wheelus AB Tripoli, Libya, and Tom spent 1968 at Ton Son Nhut AB, RVN arriving the day prior to the Tet Offensive when the base was overrun. Tom retired from the Air Force at K.I. Sawyer AFB on April 1, 1983, as a chief master sergeant with over 30 years of service. His philosophy for himself and his family was to insure that wherever stationed, the place was a better place to live, work and play when they left, than when they arrived.
His primary awards and decorations included the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters.
Tom was a life member of the VFW, Non-commissioned Officers (AFSA) as well as a 28-year member of the Eagle River, Wisconsin, American Legion.
Tom liked all sports, having participated in basketball, baseball and fast pitch softball for many years. There were only three teams he supported, the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers and whoever was in Milwaukee, the former Braves, now Brewers.
He liked the outdoors and thoroughly enjoyed fishing. If he caught something fine, if not, fine also. Just to be on the lake in the U.P. he considered a privilege.
From day one he enjoyed traveling. After retiring he and Daphne spent their winters in Florida and crossed the United States and England visiting their children, relatives and friends. He always said the United States was the most beautiful country in the world. Those that didn’t travel and see her were missing out on one of life’s most satisfying experiences in life.
Daphne passed away on October 21, 2005, after more than 48 years of marriage.
Tom remarried on Aug. 25, 2007, to Mildred (Millie) Jenshak of Escanaba, at the Terrace Bay Inn. She quickly found out Tom’s love for traveling. Although their time was brief, they went on many trips, namely Branson, Mo., Wilbur, Neb., military museums at Offutt AFB, Nebraska and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. They also traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the United States Track and Field Masters Marathon Championships (40+) where Tom and Daphne’s son, Tracy, won the National Championship.
Tom had a few sayings and philosophies that he thoroughly believed in. He never had a problem in life, just opportunities. If you can correct something or solve it, do it. Don’t dwell on what you can’t control. No matter how bad things may be someone always has it worse. What costs the least and means the most is just a pleasant smile.
His attitude was always positive and whenever asked how he was doing, loved to reply “excellent,” we have too many miserable people in the world and we don’t need anymore. Tom enjoyed life and said many times if others had half the life he had they would have had a great life.
He felt extremely fortunate to have loved and married two wonderful, caring and beautiful women in his life that were also his best friends.
Besides his wife, Millie, Tom is survived by three daughters, Tammy (Mike) Clawson of Moreno Valley, California, Terry (Tim) Markley of Daharan, Saudi Arabia, Kim (Neil Joe) Armatti of Gwinn; three sons, Kelly (Collette) Lokken of Wilber, Nebraska, Tracy Lokken of Marquette, and Kris Lokken of Green Bay; Danielle (Bill) Hanpaa of Negaunee, who he considered a daughter; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He also felt very blessed to have inherited upon his marriage to Millie three more daughters, Jackie (Tom) Elegeert of Gladstone, Joey Bishop of Harvey and Michelle (Richard) McInerney of Escanaba; and a son, Kevin (Renee) Janshak of Bark River; and nine more grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at a later date in the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard