Thomas "Tom" Olejnicak, age 79, of Glenwood, died peacefully on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at his residence, following a lengthy illness. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on June 5th at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Glenwood with Father Joe Vandeberg officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in the Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood.
Thomas Francis Olejnicak was born August 6th, 1941 in Brainerd, MN. He was the fifth son of six children born to Francis and Mabel (Cedardahl) Olejnicak. He grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from DeLaSalle High school in 1960. After graduation, he joined the Navy in the buddy system with his cousin, Jackie Thamert, and proudly served as a SeeBee from 1961-1963. During that time he was stationed in VA, Newfoundland, Canada and Cuba. In 1963, Tom enrolled in and graduated from Minneapolis Vocational College. He remained in the naval reserves until his honorable discharge in 1967.
Tom used his education to work in commercial art and in mechanical drafting/technical services. In the ensuing years, he worked in the drafting department of Hormel in Austin, MN and he was a partner in a graphic arts company named ART, before eventually settling in to work for Proform/Xerxes Corporation as a plant engineer and the manager of Technical Services. It was during his employment at Hormel that he met Sharon Finkelson, the woman who would become his wife. The two were married on July 24, 1965 in Adams, and together they raised four children, Darcy, Teresa, Pamela and Marc.
Tom’s managerial duties at Proform/Xerxes involved extensive travel around the country. During his 20 plus years with the company, his work took the family all over the U.S., from MN to KY and then to TX, back to MN for a few years and then to MS for a year before finally coming back to MN for good and retiring from Xerxes. In true Tom fashion, he needed to be busy and went back to work as a consultant for a few years before finally retiring for good. At that time he and Sharon established their retirement home on Pelican Lake in Glenwood, expanding a small, two-bedroom cabin into their new home.
Tom had a beautiful tenor voice. Over the years he shared his voice as a cantor and choir member at church and he was part of a barbershop harmony group while living in TX. As all who knew him will attest, Tom was an active person his whole life. He was a speed skater in his youth, played softball with his work team, and he enjoyed bowling and golfing. In retirement, Tom loved living at the lake and being able to take his grandchildren fishing on the pontoon. He also enjoyed playing cards and dice, wood working, running his “Mr. Maintenance” business, and taking an occasional jaunt to the casino. He was also involved with many local organizations including the Pelican Lake Association and the Central Square revitalization group in Glenwood, where he served for many years on the board of directors.
Tom passed away peacefully on Nov 29th, 2020 at this home in Glenwood following a lengthy illness. His family misses him every day.
Tom is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sharon; their four children, Darcy Ritchie of Glenwood, Teresa (Alex) Cimochowski of Eagan, Pamela (Dave) Chenvert of Rosemont, and Marc (JoAnn) Olejnicak of Smiley, TX; as well as eight grandchildren and four step-grandchildren; John and Sharon Ritchie, Alex (Leah) Cimochowski, Erica and Alicia Cimochowski, Vanessa and Leah Chenvert, and Kristin Olejnicak, Zack (Tasha) and Kayla Chenvert, and PJ and Dante Corte; along with many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mable; his four brothers and one sister: Ronald (Suzanne), Richard (Ruth), Eugene (Patricia), John (Patti) Olejnicak, and Elizabeth (Michael) Otier;
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Pope County Family Services or Pope County Humane Society, Glenwood, MN.
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