Morris Thompson “Tom” Chaney, age 84, of Nisswa, passed away on November 20, 2019, at his home. He was born to Morris and Dorothy Chaney on July 1, 1935, in Sioux City, IA.
Tom is survived by his children: Molly Radtke (Ryan), Jay Chaney (Melissa), CariAnna Ruthford (Shawn); grandchildren: Cassidy Chaney, Carly Chaney, Calia Chaney, Chase Ruthford; brothers, Mike Chaney and Jerry Chaney; and sisters: Cynthia Chaney, Suzy Adams and Robin Jones. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Tom grew up in Vermillion, S.D. where he graduated from Vermillion High School. He would spend much of his life in Vermillion but spent nearly every summer at the family cabin on Gull Lake in Nisswa, MN. Tom was a boating and water enthusiast and presumably, this magical place is the birthplace of that passion. Effortlessly, he passed that passion to his son and three granddaughters. The Chaney family built the cabin in 1938 and it is still owned by the family today. In 1994 Tom moved permanently to Nisswa area.
Tom also enjoyed boating on the Missouri River and when he was 21 years old, he and close friend, Junior Iverson, took a trip from Vermillion to New Orleans in a 15-foot boat with a 30 HP motor. Later Tom would make two similar trips, the first of which was a solo trip with his brother Mike. Years later, Mike’s family, the Reedy family and Tom’s family including his three children would take an adventure. They boated from S.D. down the Missouri River to St. Louis and back up the Mississippi River to Minneapolis.
Tom served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1958 where he worked on armored tanks. While enlisted he served a tour of duty in Germany with Elvis Presley. That, however, wasn’t his first trip abroad, as a few years earlier he attended the coronation festivities of Queen Elizabeth with sister Cynthia in 1953.
Tom was something of a “Jack of all trades” but he will be best remembered as a very talented wood worker creating beautiful custom picture frames, furniture and gun cabinets. He also had a passion for classic wood boats and loved to restore them. He owned and operated two sporting goods stores - The Sport-n-Fad and 8-C’s Sport shop where he sold everything from guns and ammo to boats and motors. In 1980, Tom was assigned to work the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY, where the company he worked for was the “Official Provider of Space Heaters to the Winter Games”.
Tom married Judi Arnold in 1965 and the service was performed at the family cabin on Gull Lake. They would later divorce in 1976. Tom never re-married.
Tom’s memorial service will be held at Living Savior Lutheran Church at 8327 Interlachen Rd., Nisswa, MN 56468 on December 14 at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Rick Hans officiating. It will be preceded by a visitation at 10:00 am at the same location. A lunch reception will take place immediately following the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers a donation in the form of an unwrapped toy or monetary contribution can be brought to the service. “Christmas for Kids” serving children in our immediate area will be the beneficiary of your kindness.
Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home, Pequot Lakes.