Robert (Bob) Tomac: 1925-2018
Robert (Bob) Tomac
After a full life of almost 93 years, Bob Tomac passed away peacefully on the morning of July 14, 2018.
Robert (Bob) Tomac was born on August 1, 1925, at his parents’ homestead 20 miles south of Morristown, SD. He was the fifth of eight children born to Anton and Anna (Vukelic) Tomac.
Bob attended area grade schools and graduated from the 8th Grade at the Locken School. He then attended high school in McIntosh, where he lived in the boys’ dormitory and worked part time at many jobs, including cooking at the local café.
After graduating from McIntosh High School in 1943, Bob spent the next two years working with his dad and his brothers at the family farm. In 1945, he joined the Navy with his friend, Lloyd Peterson. They completed basic training in San Diego and then Bob served as a clerk at the Federal Prison in Portsmouth, N.H. He was honorably discharged in 1947 and returned to the Tomac homestead south of Morristown where he started a ranching partnership with his brother Joe.
In September 1950, Bob and Joe bought a piper cub airplane. After only a couple hours of flying lessons, they enjoyed many years of flying, hunting coyotes, fox, and rabbits, and scaring people.
On July 25, 1951, Bob married Betty Schmidt at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Morristown.
In the summer of 1959, Bob and Joe bought the Silent Butte Ranch north of Watauga, SD, and, with a flip of the coin, Bob and Betty and family moved there on October 31, 1959. In time, the brothers’ partnership was dissolved, and Bob and Betty became sole owners. The Silent Butte Ranch was named for the deaf couple who had homesteaded it, but after Bob and Betty and their growing family moved on it, it was silent no longer.
Over the next 40 years, Bob served on many local boards and was recognized as a community leader. He was on the original board of directors for the Watauga Elevator. He helped organize and build the Watauga Stockyards. He was an active member of the Thunder Hawk American Legion and a trustee at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Bob also served on the Cedar Soil Conservation Board, the Lemmon Dakota Propane Board, was a Sioux County Commissioner, and served as a director for Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Coop. During his retirement years, he also did Census work. In a recent interview with a local publication, he cited his 18 children’s successes as his greatest satisfaction.
Bob loved to play cards, anytime, anywhere. Bob was a deeply religious man. He prayed the rosary daily and wore the Brown Scapular of Our Lady. Monsignor Leahy inspired him during his high school years, and Bob practiced his faith consistently and without fanfare throughout the rest of his life.
He will be deeply missed by his wife Betty of nearly 67 years, 18 children – Robert “Jack” (Dianne), Steve (special friend Vicki), Toni (Sylvester) Jacobs, Miles (Marjorie), Charles (Annette), Kathy Scherr, Cindy (Kevin) Candrian, Jean (James) McGregor, Mary (Bob) Kubischta, Nick, Frank (Krista), Casey (Dawn), Margaret (Glenn) Frame, Sandy Kramer, Justin (Sarah), Lewis (Julie), Jackie (Ryan) Beer and Jodi (JR) Burns; 66 grandchildren; 94 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Emil (Gertie) and Lloyd (Lorraine); four sisters-in-law, Grace Tomac, Eleanor Tomac, Virginia Schmidt and Sylvia Schmidt; and two brothers-in-law, Ed (Phyllis) Schmidt and Don (Julie) Schmidt.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, MaryAnn in infancy and Rose Tidball; three brothers Tom, Evan, and Joe; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; father/ mother-in-law Louis and Emma Schmidt, and two brothers-in-law Bob and Dick Schmidt.
Mass of Christian Burial wasThursday, July 19, at 10 a.m. MDT at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Watauga, SD, with Father Tony Grossenburg officiating. Burial with military honors will be held at the Watauga Cemetery following the service. Visitation was Wednesday, July 18, from 2-5 p.m. MDT at Evanson Jensen Funeral Home in Lemmon, SD, with a Rosary and Parish Vigil Service at 7 p.m. MDT at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lemmon, SD.
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