Feb. 26, 1919~Feb. 24, 2009
Longtime Meeker sheep rancher Tom Theos died Feb. 24, 2009, at Pioneers Hospital in Meeker.
Tom Theos was born to Greek immigrant parents in Watson, Utah, on Feb. 26, 1919. Preceding him in death were his parents (Angelo and Marie); three brothers (Bill, Deno and Mike); and his beautiful loving wife of 61 years, Katherine. Still surviving is one brother, Nick, and his sister, Helen (Nick) Mahleres.
Three children were born from Tom and Kay: Angelo (Karin) Theos, Zoie (Mohammad) Alkhattat and Elena (Jim) Mogensen. Tom leaves behind these children, plus four cherished grandchildren: Thomas (Molly) Theos, Katrina (Shawn) Springer, Anthony Theos (fiancé Dani Rholl) and Lebeba (Johnny) Behna. Also two step-grandchildren: Mike (Becky) Mogensen, Michele (Shane) Rasmussen; his special four great-grandchildren Brady Springer, Kaylee Springer, Angelo Theos and Elijah Behna, along with three step-great-grandchildren Sheridan Harvey, Couper Rasmussen and Kaylee Mogensen as well as other nieces and nephews.
Tom spent most of his life in sheep ranching. Everyone has a gift in life and Tom’s was managing his sheep and hired men. From his early years, probably eight or nine, his passion was being with his beloved sheep and the ranch his father had put together during the depression years. His only sabbatical from the ranch was being drafted into the Army just before the beginning of World War II. His draft papers were delivered to him on horseback while herding sheep on the winter range in Utah. With no questions he left and accepted his duty to his country and tried to use it as an opportunity to expand his knowledge and commitments of his purpose in life.
One of his favorite war stories, and he had many, was when they took him to boot camp and asked him what he thought of tanks. Being a rancher, he imagined he would be welding water tanks. Much to his surprise he went to Saipan and Tinian to fight the war in General Patton’s Sherman tank command core. Not long after being overseas, his commander recognized his gift for common sense and his leadership qualities which elevated him to tank commander and earned his stripes for staff sergeant. During his tenure, Tom was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star among many other medals for his excellence in serving his country. One of his other favorite stories was when he was offered a battle commission and would become a lieutenant. Although tempting, much to his superior’s surprise, he declined. Saying he needed to get back to Colorado to help take care of his father’s sheep. He often reminisced during many snowstorms through his 60-plus years of lambing, that maybe he should have taken the battle commission.
He truly loved his family and his heritage. Even in his last years, he would travel to the sheep and visit with his friends the sheepherders. Even though he couldn’t see very well, he told them what a good job they were doing and the ewes and lambs were beautiful. The respect they offered him was beyond imagination, because that’s who he was. He always had time for his family and friends. For years he never missed a Meeker High School football game or wrestling match, often more passionate than the coaches. His love for his church was apparent, and he and Kay went to as many church services and functions as possible.
His last days were spent in the Meeker nursing home with Kay. The nurses always commented on how he took care of her and his love was so apparent. After her death, they took him under their personal care, it was obvious of their commitment and the love they had for him. Much to their credit, the last days were special and with his passing their warmth and affection continued with him.
Tom will be missed by his family, friends and community. He touched many lives, many more than he will ever know. With this comes an end of an era and a challenge for future generations to live life with little regret and many smiles.
A funeral service was held Tuesday from St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Craig. Interment was made in the Highland Cemetery of Meeker. Memorial contributions are suggested to either the Walbridge Memorial Wing or St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church through Cochran Memorial Chapel of Meeker.