Thomas Duane Couillard was born Oct. 27, 1926 in Minneapolis, Minn., to Raymond and Clarice (Cook) Couillard. The second of their four children, Tom was raised in Richfield, Minn., where his parents had a family business of raising produce for the farmer’s market. That is how Tom developed his enthusiasm for gardening.
At the age of 17, Tom began his career at Honeywell. When he turned 18, he was drafted into the United States Army to serve his country. He was ordered to the South Pacific area during World War II, however, the war ended before they arrived so he was stationed in Hawaii. After his honorable discharge, he returned to work at Honeywell, from which he retired following a career of 43 years.
On November 8, 1947, Tom married Annabelle Thalin of Minneapolis and they made their first home in in Richfield. When Tom started working at Honeywell he had 500 tomato plants to tend to. He would get up, tend to the plants, head to the farmer’s market to sell them, and then head off to a full day of work at Honeywell. Tom and Ann moved to the Brooklyn Center area as their family grew larger.
Tom enjoyed taking the family on several family camping trips and vacations; some of which included fishing. This is where he received the label of “Wagon Master” by his family and friends. He enjoyed activities with his kids; whether it was skiing, downhill or cross country, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, coaching a little league baseball team or umpiring a ball game.
As Tom became a grandfather, he was excited to see his grandkids in activities as well. Many times while watching a baseball game, someone would ask the score of the game and he would know exactly what it was due to his match book score card.
In 1979, Tom and Ann built a house with some acreage in Stacy, Minn., where Tom could really explore his love of gardening. In 1992, they built a home in Rush City where they retired.
The older Tom got, the warmer he liked it. They enjoyed wintering in Texas for 15 years and made several friends that they continued to keep in touch with over the years. He was an active member of the Rush City Lions for 20 years and a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rush City.
Tom passed away February 6, 2012, surrounded by his family at Golden Living Center in Rush City. He had been a resident there for over a year due to Alzheimer’s Disease. The family would like to thank the staff for their loving care and compassion.
Tom is survived by his wife Ann of 64 years; children: Terry (Gwenn) Couillard of Ocala Fla., David (Dayle) Couillard of Edina, Minn., Craig (Berni) Couillard of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Cheryl Couillard of Williston Vt., Julie (Steve) Carlson of Rush City; grandchildren: Darren (Keely) Couillard of Rochester, Minn., Jeff (Crystal) Couillard of South St. Paul, Minn., Naomi Couillard of Chicago, Ill., Adam Couillard of Mankato, Minn., Brad Carlson and Elaine Carlson of Rush City; great-grandson: Rory Couillard; brother: Ray Couillard of Minneapolis; sister: Phyllis (Bob) Smith of Las Vegas, Nev.; sister-in-law: Karen Couillard of Glenwood, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Clarice (Cook) Couillard, and his brother Don Couillard.
The Reverend Laurie O’Shea officiated at funeral services at 10:30 on Friday, February 10, 2012 at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rush City. Music was provided by Al Tripp and Dianne Kirchberg. Casket bearers included Darren Couillard, Jeff Couillard, Naomi Couillard, Adam Couillard, Brad Carlson and Elaine Carlson. Interment was at the First Lutheran Cemetery in Rush City.
Funeral arrangements for Thomas Couillard were entrusted to the Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City; Olson Chapel.