Laird Eugene (Tom) Kockrow was born on March 11, 1940, to Raymond and Lillian (McFarland) Kockrow at Fairbury, Neb. He went to be with God on August 28, 2019, at his home surrounded by his loved ones.
His family moved to Hay Springs, Neb., in 1942, where they lived on the east side of Walgren Lake until they purchased the farm northeast of Rushville in 1945. Tom attended Rushville Public School and graduated in 1958. He was a several sport athlete and was honored as Homecoming King his senior year. During his high-school years he worked part-time for Bud Beguin, and often moved haystacks past the Mill School. He loved waving at the kids at recess as he went by. After graduation, he drove a semi for Fleece Brothers Trucking out of Sutherland, Neb., until the untimely death of his father in 1965. He returned home to help his mother with the farming and cattle. He worked for the county road department as well as for George Cox building dams. He also farmed for the three Hollstein Brothers for 30 plus years, which he enjoyed as they were very appreciative and kind to him, and later to his family. He was a Vermeer dealer for close to 20 years, where he sold new equipment and parts.
Little did he know that the 8th grade girl that always waved back at the Mill School would become his bride. He married Marilyn Norton on October 13, 1968. To this union, two beautiful little girls, Karena Lynn and April Leann, were born. Karena on March 26, 1974, and April on March 26, 1978. Friends would ask when he was going to try for a son. His response was, “That was computer work as predicted, and we have turned it off”. As everyone knows, Tom loved telling jokes and visiting.
Tom moved his family to the home place in 1994, after the passing of his mother in 1993, where he continued farming and raising cattle. His mules had a special place in his heart, so they were a joy for him to ride and pack.
Tom’s greatest love was his family. He enjoyed teaching his grandchildren gun safety and shooting with accuracy during many hours of target practice and blue-rock shoots as well as watching Karena’s kids during shooting sports practice and competition.
Tom and Marilyn took many fun trips from North Carolina to California visiting April’s family. They enjoyed the sight-seeing trips as well as many sporting events all the way from professional wrestling, throwing events, little league baseball, basketball to water polo.
Tom and Marilyn purchased deer permits every year that their health would allow. Many hours were spent on the Vincent meadows and the Norton ranch spotting deer. Tom loved pack trips to the mountains with his mules and tent to Durango, Colo., and to Wyoming. His brother-in-law, Tom Rose, went with him and enjoyed many hunting trips together, even to Boone, N.C., bear hunting.
A very memorable trip to Alaska for six weeks, with a special friend, Ginny, and her husband was a dream come true. Tom talked about going back and taking both daughters and their families. Wildlife was his passion alive or dead.
Tom spent many hours playing cards with special friends and neighbors, one week at our house the next week at their house. Other special friends spent hours on the telephone every week, sometimes, nightly. Those memories last forever.
Tom is survived by his loving wife, daughter Karena (Travis) Denton, and their children, Stetson, Wrangler (Jayde) and great grandson Jeremy, Roper and Bailey, and daughter April (Bob) Smith, and their sons, Andrew and Derek. Also, he is survived by Sister JoAnn Pauly of Martin, SD, and her family, and brother Dean (Beverly) Kockrow of Valentine, Neb., and their family, sister-in-law Dorothy Norton and family and other relatives, neighbors, and friends.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his in-laws (Bill and Mollie Norton), his brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Elaine of North Platte, Neb., brothers-in law Ed Pauly of Martin, S.D., and Ralph Norton of Rushville, and brother/sister-in-law Tom and Ileen Rose of Kilgore, Neb., and his grandparents, and other relatives too numerous to name.
He left this world suddenly, but we know he is looking down, guiding his family, and loving God. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Memorial Services were held Thursday September 5, 2019, 10:00 a.m. at Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home. Inurnment was held in Fairview Cemetery, Rushville, Nebraska. A memorial has been established and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366 Gordon, NE 69343.