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Thomas A. Gaspar (Delta Kappa) 1940-2012

Thomas Gaspar, age 72 of Rock Rapids, IA died Friday, December 7, 2012 at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM, Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at Holy Name Catholic Church in Rock Rapids, IA, with Father Jeff Schleisman as celebrant.

Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in Rock Rapids.

Visitation will be Monday, December 10, 2012 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, with the family present from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Jurrens Funeral Home of Rock Rapids.

There will be a Vigil service at 7:00 PM at the funeral home.

Tom grew up in Bridgewater, SD and attended SDSU. After serving in the military, Tom’s teaching career began in 1965 in Volga, SD. In 1970, Tom moved to Rock Rapids to become the band director at Central Lyon High School where his love for musical education continued though his retirement in 2002.

As the theater director at Central Lyon and as one of the founders of the River Valley Players, Tom directed and performed in over 150 musicals and plays, and countless concerts, parades, and football halftime shows. While teaching was his vocation, the musical theater was truly Tom’s passion and he continued to bring music to the community for more than 40 years, including his instrumental role in ensuring the development of the Forster Auditorium. However, Tom was always thought of as more than just the band director or musical director.

With a Masters degree in Guidance Counseling, he became a confidante to many students looking for direction and a listening ear during difficult times. Even with the delight that Tom received from music, helping and educating kids will always be of special importance to his teaching legacy.

Tom will forever be remembered as a wonderful husband and father but his true joy could be found when he became a grandfather. His grandchildren were always sitting with him in “Grandpa’s chair” and they were the voices that would lift his spirits with their laughter.

Tom is survived by his wife of 49 1/2 years, Judy; two children: Patrick Gaspar and his wife Jennifer of Waltham, MA, Kirsten Colt and her husband Brad of Elk Point, SD; one brother, Jerry (Olimpia) Gaspar of Punta Gorda, FL, two sisters Beverly (Tom) O’Connor of Lenexa, KS and Phyllis (Greg) Heineman of Sioux Falls, SD; and five grandchildren: Dylan, Jennica and Alicen Colt, and Owen and Emma Gaspar.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

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