Thomas P. Straiton, 95

Thomas P. Straiton, age 95, of Waconia, formerly of New Prague, died peacefully with his wife at his side on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at Good Samaritan Society Waconia.  Tom was born on January 30, 1926 in Minneapolis to Raymond and Myrtle (Taklo) Straiton.  Tom graduated from Minneapolis Central High School and was drafted into the US Army Air Corps, where he served in post-war Germany and attended the Nuremberg Trials.  After service, Tom began his future career in education with a degree from Augsburg College.  He met and married the love of his life, Monica S. Stevens on March 30, 1950 in Minneapolis and accepted his first teaching job in Houston, MN.  He went on to get his Master’s Degree in Education from Macalester College and came to New Prague in 1959, where he taught in NPHS until retiring in 1985.  Teaching was in his blood, however, and retirement only meant changing directions and subbing for another 9 years.  He served as football coach in various capacities throughout his teaching career.  Summers found him working at Green Giant and for most of his years, at New Prague Golf Club.

 Tom was a man of many interests and involvement.  During his education years, he served as the National Honor Society Advisor.  He was a dedicated member of the New Prague Teacher’s Union, serving as negotiator.  He was involved in city and state government as well, serving on the New Prague City Council, working as an election judge, and an active volunteer with Hubert H. Humphrey’s presidential campaign as well as Bob Vanasek’s  state campaigns.  Many students remember him teaching Red Cross Life Saving at Camp Pa-hu-ca.  His children benefited from his swimming skills as well at the family cabin that he and Monica built in northern Minnesota in the early 60’s; summers were spent at the cabin, where Tom passed on his love of the outdoors, teaching them to fish and swim.  Tom was an avid hunter and fisherman with yearly fly-in fishing trips to Manitoba with a group including his son and others from 1979 to 2009.  Likewise, hunting trips to Montana were also an annual event for 35 years.

 Sports made up another one of Tom’s many interests.  He loved golf, serving on a Men’s League.  When he couldn’t be in the actual stadium watching his favorites, the Twins, Vikings, or Gophers, the TV provided a great alternative.  He served as an usher/security person outside the visitor’s locker room at Met Stadium, even challenging Sid Hartman when he couldn’t produce his credentials.  Finally, he found time to make wine, and his children remember helping bottle and cork his efforts.  In recent weeks, Tom became a favorite with his caregivers with his outgoing personality and his many stories.  He will be sorely missed by them and his family, which was the light of his life.

 Tom is survived by his loving wife, Monica; children, Tom Straiton, Susan Straiton, Mary Straiton, Patti Straiton (Kathy Bemmels), Coleen (Joe) Kellen; grandchildren, Coleman Straiton, Lea Straiton, Brieana Straiton (Ryan Dellwo), Taylor Straiton, Molly Kellen (Colin Peterson), Jo Kellen; great-grandchildren, Phillip, Bobby, Nola, & Kira.  Preceded in death by parents; siblings, Donald Straiton, Elizabeth Straiton, Irene Leboutillier, Robert Straiton, Kathleen Straiton.

 A Memorial Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Bruzek Funeral Home with MaryCarol Wolf officiating.  Visitation will take place from 9 – 11 AM.  Burial will occur at St. Patrick Cemetery in rural Jordan where military honors will be conducted by the New Prague Area Veterans Honor Guard.  If you are not vaccinated, we ask that you please wear a mask.  bruzekfuneralhome.com

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