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Thomas Luker

Thomas Paul Luker

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021
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These Terms and Conditions govern the use of the Book Of Memories websites (the "Website") and other services (collectively the "Services"). FrontRunner Professional ("Company," "we," "us," "our") reserves the right in our sole discretion to change, amend or modify (the "changes") all or part of these Terms and Conditions at any time and from time to time for any reason. Any changes to these Terms and Conditions will be noted by indicating the date these Terms and Conditions were last made. Any changes will become effective no earlier than fourteen (14) days after they are posted; provided, however, that changes addressing new functions of the Services or changes made for legal reasons will be effective immediately. Your use or continued use of the Services after the date any such changes become effective shall constitute your express acceptance of the Terms and Conditions as changed, amended or modified.

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Fees: Company does not charge Campaign Organizers any upfront fees for Campaigns. Company retains a portion of each Donation contributed to Campaigns in the amount of four percent (4%) ("FrontRunner Professional Fee"). A portion of the Donation is payable to our third party payment processors ("Processing Fee"). Donors acknowledge that by contributing Donations to Campaigns, Donors are agreeing to any and all applicable terms and conditions set forth by a third party payment processor, in addition to these Terms and Conditions. The portion of each Donation payable to and retained by our third party payment processors are:

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The arbitration will be governed by the Commercial Arbitration Rules and the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer Related Disputes (collectively, "AAA Rules") of the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"), as modified by this Terms and Conditions, and will be administered by the AAA. The AAA Rules are available online at adr.org, by calling the AAA at 1-800-778-7879, or by writing to the Notice Address. The arbitrator is bound by the terms of this Terms and Conditions. All issues are for the arbitrator to decide, including, but not limited to, issues relating to the scope, enforceability, and arbitrability of the arbitration provision. Unless Company and you agree otherwise, any arbitration hearings will take place in Chicago, Illinois. Regardless of the manner in which the arbitration is conducted, the arbitrator shall issue a reasoned written decision sufficient to explain the essential findings and conclusions on which the award is based. YOU AND COMPANY AGREE THAT EACH MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN YOUR OR ITS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING. Unless both you and Company agree otherwise in writing, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person's claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding. If this specific provision is found to be unenforceable, then the entirety of this arbitration provision shall be null and void.

Introduction

BOOKOFMEMORIES.COM, including mobile applications and related services (collectively the “Site”) is fully owned and operated by FrontRunner Professional, (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our”). Company takes your privacy seriously. We feel it is important that you fully understand the terms and conditions under which we use the information we gather from you through the use of our Site. Please read this Privacy Policy ("Policy") carefully to understand how we will use and protect your Personal Information. We will not share your Personal Information with anyone except as described in this Policy. Changes to this Policy will be announced on our Site, so please check back periodically. This Policy forms part of the Company’s TERMS AND CONDITIONS and is incorporated by reference to those Terms and Conditions.

This Policy outlines Company’s general policies and practices for protecting your private information on this Site. It covers why Company collects information, the types of information it gathers, how it uses such information, and the notice and choice affected individuals have regarding Company’s use of and their ability to correct their information. This Policy applies to all personal information received by Company whether in electronic, written, or verbal format.

Company reserves the right to modify this Policy at any time and will do so from time to time. Each modification shall be effective upon its posting to the Site. Your continued use of the Site following any such modification constitutes your acceptance of any change(s) to this Policy. It is therefore important that you review this Policy regularly. If you have any questions concerning this Policy please contact Company at support@frontrunner360.com.

1. Scope

This Policy covers the Site in part and as a whole. However, it does not apply to entities that Company does not own or control, including without limitation, Campaign, advertisers or developers of content. Company may include third-party links on the Site. These third-party sites are governed by their own privacy policies and NOT this Policy. Company therefore has no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these third-party sites. Please check the privacy policy of any third-party site you interact with on or off the Site.

2. General Policy Provisions

  1. Definitions

    “Personal Information” includes both “Personally Identifiable Information” and “Non-Personally Identifiable Information”.

    "Personally Identifiable Information" refers to information that lets us know the specifics of who you are and can be used to identify, contact or locate you. Personally Identifiable Information is requested when you register with us, make a Donation, correspond with us, or otherwise volunteer information, for instance, through the use of "Contact Us". Personally Identifiable Information may include, without limitation, your name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, credit card number, and other identification and contact information.

    "Non-Personally Identifiable Information" refers to information that does not identify a specific individual by itself or in combination with other information. We gather certain information about you based upon what you view on our Site in several ways. This information is compiled and analyzed on both a personal and an aggregated basis. This information may include the Site’s Uniform Resource Locator ("URL") that you just came from, which URL you next go to, what browser you are using, and your Internet Protocol ("IP") address. A URL is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web (‘Web”). An IP address is an identifier for a computer or device on a Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ("TCP/IP") network, such as the World Wide Web. Networks use the TCP/IP protocol to route information based on the IP address of the destination. In other words, an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web, allowing Web servers to locate and identify your computer. Computers require IP addresses in order for users to communicate on the Internet, browse and shop

    “Sensitive Personal Information” means Personal Information that reveals race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership or that concerns an individual’s health.

  2. Notice

    Company shall inform you of the purposes for which it collects and uses Personal Information and the types of non-agent third parties to which Company discloses or may disclose that information. Company shall provide you with the choice and means for limiting the use and disclosure of your Personal Information. Notice will be provided in clear and conspicuous language when you are first asked to provide Personal Information to Company, or as soon as practicable thereafter. In any event, you will receive notice before Company uses or discloses the information for a purpose other than that for which it was originally collected.

  3. Choice

    Company will offer you the opportunity to choose (opt-out) whether Personal Information is to be disclosed to a third party or to be used for a purpose other than that for which it was originally collected or has subsequently been authorized. For Sensitive Personal Information (when applicable), Company will give you the opportunity to affirmatively or explicitly consent (opt-in) to the disclosure of the information for a purpose other than that for which it was originally collected or has subsequently been authorized. Company will treat Sensitive Personal Information it receives from anyone the same as it would treat its own Sensitive Personal Information.

  4. Security

    Company shall take reasonable steps to protect Personal Information from loss, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. No company is immune from Internet attacks or data breaches. Company cannot guarantee the security of information on or transmitted via the Internet.

  5. Data Integrity

    Company shall only process Personal Information in a way that is compatible with and relevant to the purpose for which it was collected or has been authorized. To the extent necessary for those purposes, Company shall take reasonable steps to ensure that Personal Information is accurate, complete, current, and reliable for its intended use.

  6. How to Access Your Information

    Company offers you choices for the collection, use and sharing of Personal Information. You may notify Company of your preferences, or change any Personal Information, by emailing support@frontrunner360.com. Please be sure to provide complete account information so Company can identify you in its records.

    You may also stop the delivery of future promotional e-mail from Company by responding directly to any email you receive with a request to remove you from the mailing list.

3.Reasons the Company Collects Personal Information

Company collects your Personal Information because it helps deliver a superior online experience, gives you convenient access to the Site for browsing, and allows key features of the Site to function properly. In order to better provide you with this superior level of customer service, our Site collects two types of information (referred to in this policy as "Personal Information") about our visitors: Personally Identifiable Information and Non-Personally Identifiable Information. In addition, your Personal Information helps Company keep you informed about the latest announcements, special offers, and events that you might like to hear about.

4. Information Company Collects About You

Any time a guest or member (collectively “Users”) accesses the Site they receive a “cookie” from Company. Company uses cookies (small pieces of data stored for an extended period of time on a computer, mobile phone, or other device) to make the Site easier to use and to protect both you and Company. These cookies give Company certain Non-Personally Identifiable Information about your use of the Site. You may remove or block cookies using the settings in your browser, but in some cases that may impact your ability to use the Site. Company may also use pixels, widgets and other tools to gather such Non-Personally Identifiable Information to improve the experience of the website or mobile application.

Company may contract with third-party service providers to assist it in better understanding its Site Users. These service providers are not permitted to use the Non-Personally Identifiable Information collected on Company’s behalf except to help it conduct and improve its business.

When you access the Site from a computer, mobile phone, or other device, Company may collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information, which does not identify individual users, to analyze trends, to administer the site, to track users’ movements around the site and to gather demographic information about the user base as a whole. Company will not use the information collected to market directly to that person.

Company keeps track of some of the actions you take on the Site such as member profiles and pages you view. Even if you do not provide certain information, Company may obtain it from you profile or the pages of its Site that you visit. Company may retain the details of connections or transactions you make on the Site.

5. Information You Provide to Company

To become a User, Company shall collect certain Personally Identifiable Information, which you are required to provide. Information that is not required shall be deemed voluntary and you may provide such information, although not mandatory.

While using the Site, you may provide text, files, images, photos, videos, location data, or any other materials (collectively “Content”) to Company by uploading, posting, or publishing the Content on the Site. Frequently, Content you place on the Site will contain a picture of your face. Company may retain the details of connections or transactions you make on the Site.

Where applicable, when you interact with other Users on the Site, you may provide other information about yourself, such as political or topical views, religious affiliation, or marital status. Any information in a public forum is accessible by anyone, including people who are not members of the Site. Please be aware they may share information you give them with other Users you may not know. They may also share the information outside the Site without your prior approval. Company does not have control over the actions of its Users and accepts no responsibility or liability for their actions. Please keep this fact in mind when using the Site, and use care when disclosing Personal Information to other Users of the Site.

Company may also collect information from ads you click on when using the Site. Company may also keep track of links you click on in e-mails you receive from Company. This is done to increase the relevancy of the ads you see.

6. How Company Uses Your Personal Information

Company uses the information you are required to provide to become a User in order to insure you are over the age of thirteen (13). THE SITE IS NOT MEANT TO BE USED BY ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF THIRTEEN (13). If you are under thirteen, please do not attempt to register with the Site or send Company any Personal Information. Company may also use your age information to be sure you receive an age appropriate experience while using the Site.

Company will use the information it collects to provide, without limitation, services and features to you and facilitate payment for any Donations between Campaign Organizers and Donors and provide information to Campaign Organizers and Campaign beneficiaries. Company will also use the information to measure and improve the Site, and to provide you with customer support.

Company may contact you with new or updated products or services, designs, routes, surveys, or other related announcements from time to time. You may opt-out of all communications except essential updates. Company may include Content in the e-mails sent to you.

Certain software applications and applets transmit data to Company. Company may not make a formal disclosure if it believes its collection of and use of the information is the obvious purpose of the Site or its related application. If it is not obvious that Company is collecting or using such information, it will disclose its collection to you the first time you provide the information.

Company may use the information collected to prevent potential illegal activities. Company may also use a variety of methods to detect and address anomalous activity and screen content to prevent abuse.

Company may use your information to serve you personalized advertising. Company does not share your information with advertisers without your consent. Company allows advertisers to choose the characteristics of Users who will see their advertisements. Company may use any of the Non-Personally Identifiable Information it has collected in any fashion to select the appropriate audience. Company will not tell the advertiser who you are as part of this process. When you interact with an advertisement there is a possibility that you may receive a cookie from the advertiser.

7. How Company Shares Your Information

Company shares your Personal Information with third parties when it believes you have permitted such sharing, that it is reasonably necessary to offer services, or when legally required to do so. Company will not share your Personally Identifiable Information with third parties in a way that it thinks violates your privacy. The following non-exhaustive list contains examples of how Company shares or could share your information:

  1. If Site allows you to invite a friend to join the Site or become a User, and you choose to do so, the invitation will contain information that will allow your friend to identify you. The invitation may contain information about other Users your friend might know.

  2. Certain information you provide to Company may be shared by using the Site’s search function. This allows other Users to locate your profile and it allows new Users to find people they know on the Site.

  3. Company provides some public information to search engines. This information allows search engines to locate the Site. It also allows people to locate you on the Site using a major search engine. This does not mean all information you post on the Site may be accessed using a search engine.

  4. There are also times when Company may make certain Personal Information about you available to strategic partners or third parties. These companies may help Company process information, render services to you, manage and enhance customer data, provide customer service, assess your interest in products and services, or conduct research or satisfaction surveys. Without such information being made available, it would be difficult for you to use Company's Site and services.

  5. Company may also share Personal Information when it has a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect itself and you from people violating the Terms and Conditions of the Site. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, and courts or other government entities.

  6. Company may disclose information pursuant to subpoenas, court orders, or other requests (including criminal and civil matters) if it has a good faith belief that the law requires such a response. This may include requests from jurisdictions outside of the United States if Company has a good faith belief that the response is required by law under the local laws in that jurisdiction, is applicable to users from that jurisdiction, and is consistent with generally accepted international standards.

  7. Company may disclose analyzed data in the form of purchasing trends or statistical data. No Personally Identifiable Information will be attached to this disclosure.

8. Business or Asset Transfer or Sale

Company may be sold, sell or buy businesses or assets of businesses, or merge with another business. In such transactions, Personal Information generally is one of the transferred business assets. Also, in the event that Company, a line of business of Company, or substantially all the assets of Company are transferred, Personal Information may well be one of the transferred assets. Company will make a reasonable effort to provide notice on the Site, and to notify you via e-mail to the most recent e-mail address that you have provided of any such change in ownership or control of your personal information.

9. Miscellaneous

  1. Privacy of Children

    YOU MUST BE EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OR OLDER TO ACCESS THE SITE OR USE ITS SERVICES. IF YOU ARE UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ACCESS ANY OF COMPANY’S SERVICES FOR ANY REASON. DUE TO THE AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR USE OF COMPANY’S SITE AND SERVICES, NO INFORMATION OBTAINED BY COMPANY FALLS WITHIN THE CHILDREN’S ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT OF 1998 AND IS NOT MONITORED AS DOING SO.

    Protecting children’s privacy is especially important to Company. Company does not knowingly collect Personal Information from children under 13, but because some information is collected electronically, it can appear to be the Personal Information of someone over the age of 13, and will be treated as such by this Policy. If a child under 13 submits Personal Information and Company learns that Personal Information pertains to a child under 13, it will attempt to delete the information as soon as possible. It is Company’s policy to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 and all other applicable laws. Therefore, Company restricts the Site and all other provided services to persons 18 years or older.

  2. Agreement with Policy and Continued Use of Site

    Unless stated otherwise, Company’s current Policy applies to all information that Company has about you, your account, and access to the Site. By using the Site, you consent to this Policy and having your Personal Information and data transferred and processed as described.

Obituary

Please share your favorite memory of Thomas to be included in a special keepsake book for the family.
Tom (Stinson) Luker, 86, died peacefully while sleeping November 30, comfortably at home with his wife of 36 years Kaären (Mickelson) Luker. He sang “Oh When The Saints” the day prior and shared fond memories with family. He is survived by Kaären, Kip Luker (Beth), Karyn German (Tom) and Kirk Luker (Megan), Anita Reese (Jason) and Joe Gaukel (Jeanette);12 grandchildren/spouses and 2 great grandchildren with 2 more on the way.

Tom grew up in Vallisca, IA, was orphaned at age 11, and he and his brother Dick were adopted by the Luker family in Urbana, IL. He ran track and cross country at Urbana High School and Univ of Illinois helping Urbana High to win the State Championship with the top 5 best score ever in the U.S and was inducted to Urbana Hall of Fame. He is an Army Veteran. He is known for always having a smile, seeing all the good in life, and making personal connections. He has written a life review from before his birth until his marriage to Kaären in 1985. This life review will be posted later for all to read.

Celebration of life December 11: First United Methodist Church (FUMC), 203 W Wisconsin Ave Madison, WI 53703. Gathering: 3:30. Service: 4:15. Face masks required.

While the address of FUMC is on Wisconsin Avenue, the entrance is on Dayton Street. There are city ramps on Dayton Street and Carroll Street for guests to use.

Enjoy others’ comments, post Tom stories, and find updated information regarding the Celebration online: https://memorials.compassioncremation.com/thomas-luker/4793010/index.php



A LOOK IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR
By Thomas (Stinson) Luker
Part 1: Events. Part 2: Letters. Part 3: Potential Adoptive Parents

PART 1: EVENTS
1790 June 8
John Stinson was born in Ohio, the son of James Stinson who was born in 1761 & died in 1787. John married Mary Parker in 1813. Mary's family supposedly founded Parkersburg, West Virginia. John was the father of Archibald Dean Stinson, born 12/21/1834 and Archibald was the father of Carl Stinson.

1865 September 5
J T [Turner] Stinson was born in Princeton, Indiana and died 6/21/58 in St Louis, Missouri. He is my Great Grand Uncle!
Professor Stinson was a notable 20th century fruit specialist and the first director of the Missouri State Experimental Station in 1900. He is best remembered for his remark “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” during an address to the 1904 St Louis World's Fair. In October 2021, the “Jeopardy” TV show had the final question of the day “What did J.T. Stinson say at the 1904 St Louis World's Fair?” All three contestants answered it correctly! Turner was director of agricultural development of the Missouri Pacific Rail Lines from 1922-1946. He was an early advocate of crop rotation and diversification, and fertilizing depleted land. He joined Missouri Pacific in 1905 and introduced agricultural exhibit trains in 1906. The trains stopped a day in each town along the lines and held open house and educational meetings in conjunction with county agents and university extension services. He was credited with helping thousands of farmers in the South and West.

1877 August 26
Carl Roy Stinson was born in Pilot Grove Township, near Red Oak, Iowa.
In the mid 1800's the family moved to the Mt Vernon, Iowa area and he and his brother, James, attended Cornell Academy and Carl also attended Cornell College. By 1900, Carl was back in Pilot Grove Township, working as a farmer. He married Mae McAdoo on August 26, 1903. Three sons were produced – Paul [11/12/05], Archibald Dean [2/10/09] and Charles Milo [4/23/16]. By 1930, they owned a house at 114 N 5th Ave in Villisca, Iowa.
Steve Stinson, Arch's son, wrote this about Carl:
He combined three original homesteads into one. He could plow all day in one direction in the same furrow. That was, of course, with a team if horses, but you can walk a long way in one day. He lost the farm during the Depression because of the “DAMN DEMOCRATS” – his words! I can remember him getting down off the sidewalk when a DD came by. I think I was in high school before I found out that Damn Democrats was actually two words! He really lost the farms because he had one leveraged against the other so that when one got into trouble, they all fell. I could never convince him otherwise. That was just before WWII. He sold used tires, some bootlegged ones and a lot of gasoline to people who had truck stickers that I'm sure were stolen. Later, he became the custodian a the high school. I washed a lot of floors with him. He taught me how to drive a school bus when I was age 14! I loved him dearly.
Mae died in 1954 & Carl died in 1963. They are buried in the Doke plot, next to Vivian & Paul Stinson in the Evergreen Cemetery in Red Oak, Iowa.

1905 November 12
Paul McAdoo Stinson was born in Pilot Grove Township.
He graduated from Villisca High School in 1924. He enrolled at the University of Nebraska. He was involved with ROTC and Delta Sigma Lamda fraternity. While there, he met Vivian Hormel from Ulysses, Nebraska who was a member of Phi Mu sorority. Isn't it amazing that a boy from a failing farm near a tiny town in Iowa should meet a girl from a tiny town in Nebraska? And that they were both part of the Greek system? Paul graduated in 1928. Vivian received her teaching certificate. In August 1932 Paul & Vivian were married.
Paul was one of the best salesmen for Wear-Ever. In a July 1931 Wear-ever Bulletin an article featured his story titled “YOU MAY SMILE AT THIS ---BUT STINSON LAUGHS LAST”: Bride and Bride-to-be business is business that more of our men should get. I have always been successful in getting my share if this business. These are good prospects. In the first place they need the equipment – so why not buy our equipment, which will last them a life-time, etc; second place, they do not have the sales resistance the older prospects have; third, husband or husband-to-be wants to show “honey” that he is willing to do anything for her.
At every Program I give, no matter the time of year, I mentioned that the maiden ladies might be interested in seeing our Health Method of Cooking for they will want it for their IWW chest. IWW does not mean “I Won't Wed” or “I Won't Work” but “I Wonder When”. Then, when I make my sales call, I ask prospect or customer if she knows anyone who is planning to take the step, usually getting a good lead or two.
I have a notebook full of bride prospects and when they plan to marry, and whom. In making the sales call to the brides-to-be, I have found a good talking point is that they ought to get this equipment and let their friends know of it. Then, when they have the kitchen showers, etc. … They will not be giving you some cheap kettles to be used in your fine kitchen. They will give you something useful.
After you get the names of the brides-to-be the rest is easy. Just follow through.
I have not been successful in following up newspaper announcements. Some men have. I prefer the reference prospect. This spring, I made up my mind to sell a certain number of brides and brides-to-be. I have only a few yet to sell to reach my goal. Make up your mind to do a certain thing – then plan and work your plan. The answer is SUCCESS.
In another 1931 Wear-Ever Bulletin, Paul wrote the following article titled “SELLING THE FARMERS”:
For the last two month and until late next fall I will work among the farmers.
The plan I use in working the farmers, is that of giving the 8:30 pm home demonstration, having this demonstration in the home of one of my customers, and of course, a good booster. She, having attended one of my programs, knows just what is expected and can invite her friends with enthusiasm.
I start my talk at 8:30, thus giving the farmers plenty of time to finish their evening work. I give a short, snappy, interesting and beneficial talk, which usually takes about one hour. While giving the talk the foods are being prepared and ready to serve as soon as I am through. They all of course, enjoy the flavor of the foods and go home in a good humor, realizing the value our method of cooking and therefore looking forward to my visit with them the next day.
I always give the hostess an attractive premium. By doing so, she will work hard to get twelve or more couples out and those who she thinks might be interested. The farmers are very busy at this time, but if one presents programs with enthusiasm he people will enjoy it, tell their friends of it and the next program will be easy to arrange, therefore, keeping several programs arranged as far ahead as two weeks.

I have in my possession Paul's last business card, made of aluminum with the 1939 & 1940 calendars of the back. The division address is his home on Thrush St & the district address is in Chicago.

1935 May 28
Thomas Paul Stinson was born in St Joseph, MO where my father had gone to be District Manager for Wear Ever. We moved less than a year later to Chicago, as my dad kept getting promotions. We lived in Chicago a few years and then moved to Peoria. Paul was soon to be appointed state of Illinois manager for Wear-Ever!.

1939 September 29
My brother Richard Allen Stinson was born in Peoria.
The day Dick was born I was with Paul at the Illinois Bakers Convention where Paul had a booth exhibiting the bakery Wear Ever pans. Jack Luker, owner of Luker's Bakery in Urbana with Norma Luker was at the convention. Supposedly, that day I tasted a Luker Angel Food Cake! Five months later, Paul would get old fashioned pneumonia and quickly die! This was only months before penicillin would come out.

1939 – 1946
Our mother gathered up her two children and moved to Villisca, IA to be close to our grandparents, Carl and Mae Stinson.
She soon started teaching kindergarten [she was my first teacher] and eventually became the Principal of Villisca Elementary School. Grandpa Carl was custodian of Villisca High School and he also owned the Skelly Gas Station which was located by the railroad station & in front of the Villisca Grocery Market. When my cousin Steve from Pittsburgh would visit, we would play on top of the big pile of rubber auto tires that Carl had at the station, as they were waiting to be recycled during World War II.
When I celebrated my 5th birthday, we had a “May Pole” in our yard. Can you imagine 5 boys dancing around the May Pole? I have a picture of such!
When I was about 10 years old, I was playing with two friends, Joann and Jeanne Marvick, twins, who lived not far from my grandpa on the north side of Villisca. One day we were playing at their home in their bedroom. A common game was “Nurse & Doctor” or “Hospital”. When I was the doctor and the twins were the nurse they wanted to undress me and they then said, “We want to see what 'You're like'.” I think that day I started my running career as I ran all the way home, to the southwest side of town!
As I was growing, mother would enroll me in piano lessons. I think I lasted three lessons. Then I took up drums, and finally cornet lessons, which took to me very well. I was in fifth grade and a pretty good player. On Memorial Day the high school band would march up to the cemetery and play some music and eventually “taps”. I was appointed to play the “echo” and was stationed behind a tree about 100 feet from the main services. It was a very windy day with the wind blowing behind me up to the services. I didn't hear the initial Taps and so didn't play the echo! Next thing I knew the band was marching past me away from the cemetery! Director Mr. Schenk was angry!
Another thing that probably helped my future running career was that often after school some boys would try to bully me because I was the principal’s son and I would have to run away from them to home!
One thing I was proud of during fifth grade was the play we put on – “Rumpelstiltskin”. I was the Miller and my beautiful and talented daughter was set about to spin straw into gold, which she did. Eventually, the Prince married her and she became Queen. Before the Prince became interested in her, I sang a song “My daughter's very pretty, there is nothing she can't do...”

1946
This was a very important time of our life as we lost our mother, were adopted and started a new life in Urbana.
One of my good friends was Chuck Fisher. We would go sledding on the steep, hilly road outside his farm home. Their home was just south of Villisca, near the municipal swimming pool which we enjoyed in the summer. His mother, Frances was a good friend of Vivian and sang at her funeral. She sang “In The Garden”.
In August we moved from Villisca to Valley, NE so our mother could be taken care of by her mother. Gladys Parsons was married to Dr A. Parsons (never did learn his first name), who was a practicing family physician and also a Baptist preacher as well as a Baptist Medical Missionary. He had served in the Belgian Congo in the late 1930s and their basement was full of collections from the tribes in the Congo. I think he had personally known Dr. Albert Schweitzer! Dr. Parsons was 100% Swedish and spoke like it – very fast & clipped. Dr. Parsons took payment for his services in the form of potatoes and if he were not a teetotaler he could have made good vodka from all those potatoes!

1946 November 1
This is the day before my mother's 38th birthday and the day she would pass away.
I had been attending sixth grade in Valley and was doing well. Including having perfect attendance. During breakfast, Grandma told me not to go to school, because she thought Vivian would die during the day. I refused to obey and went off since I didn't want to ruin my attendance record. About noon, the school principal came to my class and said “Tommy, please go home immediately.” I did and made it just in time as my mother passed in a few minutes.

1946 Introduction to Lukers
Jack & Norma Luker, Urbana IL – Because of my father, Paul's occupation, as a nation-leading seller of Wear-Ever cookware, he was very innovative. He not only sold to home buyers. Can you imagine?: in the 1930s in SW Iowa arranging home parties amongst farm families, whose nearest neighbor might be five miles away and then getting the women to converge on a home and fix up a great dinner for the folks so they'd enthusiastically buy the “waterless cookware”.
Well, Paul was also selling industrial aluminum cookware and was exhibiting at the Illinois Baker's Convention in Peoria. Jack Luker, as a baker (later called “America's Angel Food King”) was in attendance & also had an exhibit: Luker's Bakery & Angel Food cakes. Legend has it that I was tasting a Re-Kul Pan-O-Cake on September 29, 1939 at the convention, the very day that my brother was born! Unfortunately, my father contracted old fashioned pneumonia in February 1940 and died in a week on February 11th, just before penicillin came out!
We then moved to Villisca IA where Paul's parents lived, and Vivian started teaching (she was my kindergarten teacher!), and later became principal of the elementary school. Jack Luker was selling cakes all over the midwest and had a customer in Villisca, Ed Weiner, so it was natural that he would be in touch with Vivian. As Vivian contracted breast cancer in December 1945 and became painfully terminally ill, she summoned the strength to interview almost 30 families to adopt Tom & Dick. One alternative was Boys Town of Omaha. She also interviewed Jack & Norma and eventually selected them, because “they were wealthy & wanted children” and thus we moved to Urbana on November 11th after our mother died on November 1st, the day before her 38th birthday.
During the 40s, 50s & 60s Jack sold cakes nationally, including to Macy's & Gimbels in New York and grocery stores as far away as Seattle WA. They were sold as a loss-leader at $.51 to the grocer & retailed at $.49. They were shipped in heavy aluminum pans & maybe 2000 piled high in the store and released from the pan by banging out on a cutting board, to draw more attention to them. If a buyer wanted to keep the pan, they paid a deposit which was refunded if brought back in for a new cake. I spent many hours early in the morning washing out the encrusted pans with a strongbristled brush machine! If you Google “Pan-O-Cake” today, you'll find them being sold on eBay for $12-$25! You'll also find a great story written by Clementine Paddleford, food editor of Gormet Magazine in 1946 about Jack & Norma finding out the cakes tasted better as they sat in the pan!

1946 – 1953
We were adopted by Norma & Jack Luker and left after Vivian's funeral for Urbana. This section will cover time in school and other events until graduation from high school.
When we got to Urbana we were greeted by two Scottish terrier dogs. Can't remember how long they stayed. One of the things that Norma wanted to do if she adopted boys would be to send them to Culver Academy in Indiana.
Time at Culver:
So during the summer after my 8th grade year I started two summers at Culver Woodcraft School. From mid-July to mid-August boys lived in tents with wooden floors and participated in Indian education and campfires and other activities. The next three summers, 1950, 1951, 1952, I was in Company 7 at Culver Summer Naval School. At that time, it was just for boys but now there's a girl's academy. There's also a Horsemanship School which is famous for The Culver Black Horse Troop escorting the president of the United States on Inauguration Day. I learned to sail and operate a sailboat usually a simple cat boat with no jib. I also became a coxswain for the Company 7 heavy rowers, an eight-man rowing boat in which we had weekly races. Another thing I learned was rifle and pistol shooting. While shooting on the range, the instructor asked me “Why are you looking through your left eye as a right-handed shooter?” Guess it was because my right eye was in need of corrective glasses which I got when returning home. Guess I was a pretty good shooter, however, as I have in my possession targets and a sheet which shows I got the silver medal for marksmanship. Never became a hunter, however! Later, in the army, I operated the M-1 rifle.
One of the neat things they did on Sundays was to have a “pass in review” parade on the field in front of the Horsemanship Academy. All seven Naval companies, the band, and the entire horsemanship academy on their horses. Very impressive.
A few prominent people have attended Culver Woodcraft including Evan Bayh, Indiana Senator and Governor & Dierks Bentley, country music artist & Kurt Elling, jazz performer & Roger Penske, auto racer.

1950 – 1953
Urbana High School [1950-1953]. During my freshman year I took typing class, pretty cool, because I was the only boy in the class! Went out for cross-country and track, lettering 6 times.
During my junior year, we won the Illinois State Cross-Country championship with 21 points on November 2, 1951. Strong favorite was Lyons of LaGrange which was coached by our coach Gene Armer's brother, Max Armer. The temperature was about 30 degrees [the runners from Englewood High, a Black school, didn't even take off their sweats] and it started snowing as the 2-mile race started at the University of Illinois Golf Course in Savoy. The wind was blowing hard – we headed into the wind on the way out [the race went one way out and then turned around] and on the way back I think my feet hardly ever touched the ground! Verlon Scheuring got 2nd, John Mock got 4th, I got 6th, Leonard Wilson got 13th & John Hedgcock got 14th. Eliminating runners competing as individuals, our team score was 1-2-3-7-8 = 21, which is still among the best 5 scores in the nation and it will always stand because current winning scores are in the 60-80 range, primarily because there are more competitors. The next year we got 2nd to Peoria Woodruff and I got 20th, Verlon got 2nd and Frank Hedgcock got 17th. The course at Peoria Country Club, home of Woodruff, was so hilly, the coaches voted never to return and the championships have since been always held at Peoria Detweiller Park, a fairly flat course.
The Big 12 cross-country championship was held at Champaign Country Club and before the meet, Coach Armer brought us together and said there are many parents at the meet and if you are going to throw up after the race, please hide behind a bush! Everyone knew who he was talking about – I was known as “Luke the Puke” usually puking after every big race. By the time I got to college, I learned to puke before the race!
My sophomore year I qualified for the finals of the mile, at the bottom of the fast heat. I was so excited to be running in Memorial Stadium and I took off and sprinted the first quarter in :59 seconds, way ahead of everyone. Coach Armer was going nuts. I eventually collapsed and was 200 yards away from the winner at the end!
My senior year I again qualified for the final in the fast heat and got 7th with my soon-to-be Sigma Chi pledge brother Dick Cline getting 5th.
Other things happening in high school:
In my French class during my senior year we were viewing a film in the audio-visual room in the basement. When it was over, I & two other guys ran to the classroom on the third floor. We locked the door and didn't let anyone come in for a few minutes – our teacher, Loree Maranville (she had a face like a horse) was livid and I was sent to the principal's office. By the way, I was also president of the French Club!
I was elected to the president of the junior class and we had a fun campaign with silly presentations in the hallways of the school. In my position at the Junior-Senior Prom I was able to crown the king and queen. The next year at the Prom, my date [Rosemary Kinney] and I were elected king and queen. It was the first time that dates were royalty! Rosemary was not a healthy young woman – she was born a “blue baby”. I remember standing outside her home in the evenings when her lights were on in her bedroom. I would talk with her at the window. She died before 1954 was through.
I was part of a five-man German band, made up of Claude Linford [clarinet], Roger Fitz-Gerald [baritone], me [trumpet], John Whalen [bass], Dick Milum [saxaphone]. We called ourselves “The Fruity Five” and performed at school events and unannounced in the hallways.
During my senior year I got to introduce a special speaker to the entire class – BOB RICHARDS – the reason I was honored to do this is because I was a jock and active in my church, the First United Methodist Church. I can remember sitting behind him and seeing his muscles bulging and moving beneath his suit coat. He was the second man to pole vault over 15 feet [with steel poles] and was nicknamed “The Pole Vaulting Parson” when he was at the University of Illinois. By the way, a life insurance client of mine, Don Laz, was the third over 15 feet. He and his wife Ruth are buried in the graveyard across from Memorial Stadium, just a few yards from Norma Luker's grave!
Speaking of FUMC, which was located across the street from our home at 307 S Race St – I was a member of the choir as a high school student and when we had choir practice on Thursday evenings, I would wait until I heard the organ start warming up the choir to make it over to practice! I guess the director tolerated that kind of behavior!
Work situations while in high school: I worked at the Busey Bank, in the back room where the bookkeepers were. I was a “gofer”. It was fun because there was nothing but women of all ages surrounding me. I learned some pretty dirty jokes!
Of course, I worked at the Luker Bakery. Helping the bakers remove the angel cakes and chocolate cup cakes, called “Lukers”. I always arranged that there would be at least one cupcake broken and then would eat it with no icing! Another thing that I did was wash the cake pans as they were returned from customers in the mail and also as they were unloaded from trucks returning from all over the U.S. We sold cakes in Macy's and Gimbels in New York and even in a grocery store in Washington state! The crust of the cakes was really hard-dried on the pans and our washing machine had hot water and scrubbers that would clean them up. Filling up the cakes in the trucks was very important and Jack had invented a machine that would tie up the cakes [in the pans] by wrapping around the pans a thick string and then making the string tied, then putting everything in truck. The trucks were operated by Stout Trucking Co. Two Stout sons, Dale and Bud, were in my high school class.
Over a period of two years, I had the idea that we could sell the pans for re-selling. Actually, even today people buy the pans on various web sites at a cost of from $15-$25 each, I have purchased several myself to give to all of my children, grand-children and great grand-children. Over 20! Anyway, we found a buyer but they wanted us to send ONLY CAR LOAD LOTS. That meant we had to accumulate enough to put on a train car. So, we used one of Stout's disabled truck trailers and were in the process of loading, having stuffed about 200 in the trailer. One day, Harry Barr and Russ Elliott were helping me. I was at the front of the trailer stacking us the pans, Harry was at the lip of the trailer and Russ was in a Luker pick up throwing the pans to Harry. We were going to take a break when we reached 100 pans and I dropped the 99th pan, bent over to shove it out of the way, looked up and there was #100 fully hitting me in the mouth. I spit out the broken teeth and said “Come on let's get this finished!” No way, we got in the pick-up and hustled to the hospital where we waited until I could be seen by a dental surgeon. No more pan-selling biz!
Finally, some work that stretched into my freshman year at Illinois. Jack had bought me a 1951 Chevy as a graduation gift. I immediately put it to business use by taking on a newspaper route, delivering the Urbana Courier, the morning paper. The other paper is the Champaign Gazette, delivered in the afternoon. Today, the courier is no longer, and their office, just three blocks from our bakery, is a tavern, The Courier Pub & Restaurant. My route was in the south part of town in the Parade Ground Units [the PGU's were graduate student and veteran student housing] – many professors lived in this part of town, and even the President of the University' s mansion was a customer. Don't know how many customers I had, maybe more than 100. The morning route was handy since it didn't take up school time or track and cross-country practice and meets. Since I lived at home my first year at Illinois, I continued the route through 1954.

1958 June
Tom and Carol were married and while driving to Miami on our Honeymoon in southern Illinois they were listening to KMOX St Louis radio where they heard the announcer talking about the Turner [JT] Stinson passing at age 92 on June 21st. The commentators mentioned that at the St Louis 1904 World Fair Turner Stinson's quote “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” that he coined as the chief of fruits and vegetables for the state of Missouri.

1959 January 29
Kevin Paul “Kip” Luker was born.

1960 February 22
Karyn Jean Luker was born.

1962
After graduation from the Naval Academy, Dick was based at Lemoore Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA as part of his flight training. He was always of the look for pretty girls and somehow had caught sight of Melinda. Malinda's parents, Ed and Clara Miguel were cantaloupe farmers just outside of Lemoore and were very protective of Melinda, not wanting her to get picked up by any Navy guys.
Since Dick had now started dating Melinda Ed wanted to have his fiends check him out. Ed took Dick to his KIWANIS meeting and they were being driven into town by Marion Wilson, the Principal/Superintendent at Island Elementary School. He was also the high school football coach.
After introductions, Marion asked Dick where he was from. “Urbana, Illinois by way of Villisca, Iowa.” Marion said: “Villisca, my wife and I lived in Villisca. Did you have a brother by the name of Tom?” “Yes” “My gosh, we almost adopted you two! My wife Evangeline was a teacher at your mom's school where Vivian was the principal. They became good friends and your mom confided in Evangeline about her cancer and the concern of what would happen with you two boys.”
Marion and Evangeline really wanted to adopt Dick and Tom, but for monetary reasons could not. Anyway, what a wonderful coincidence and truly heart-warming.
As it turned out, Dick and Melinda were married and Norma and Tom and Carol attended. Carol and Tom continued on their trip, Norma went home, and Kip and Karyn were being cared for by Gene & Julia Wroblewski in Madison.
Carol and Tom eventually drove to San Francisco, then up through the redwoods to Portland, then to Pasco, WA where we visited Dale & Gail Marsh. Dale lived across the street from my grandparents in Villisca and was also my same age. We finally went up to Spokane where we were interviewing with Marty Pohlemus who was the General Agent for Northwestern Mutual in western Washington. I was thinking about becoming his agency assistant and eventually moving to Yakima and being District Agent there. We then flew back to Madison. We eventually decided against any move because we just like Madison too much and all our family is there.
I also entertained inquiries from the Los Angeles GA, the Seattle WA, and the Boston GA to be DA's in their agencies.

1967 January 4
Kirk Thomas Luker was born.

1967 February 27
In the Reading, Pennsylvania READING EAGLE of 2/5/67 an article headlined “Couldn't Fight It, He Buys City Hall” dateline Urbana, Ill.[AP] said:
Buying city hall has been the dream of Jackson M. Luker, a baker, for many years. He finally accomplished it after making a hobby of harassing various city administrations.
He purchased the shell of the old city building, which he will sell brick by brick for 20 cents a brick.
“I went over there to buy a couple of desks, and I wound up buying the whole thing,” Luker said.

1984 February
Kaaren Deal Gaukel was living in Sauk City at Fish Lake Resort with her husband and two children, Anita and Joey. Fish Lake Resort had many trailer and cabin sites and they had a bar which was a popular gathering spot each evening. Kaaren and Frank would both be serving patrons. In February is when they began the process for divorce.

1984 August
I was watching drum and bugle performances at Middleton High School stadium with Jim McMichael, a good friend in the insurance business. He told me that he recently met the “perfect woman for me” and would set up a time soon for me to meet her. Jim had met Kaaren Gaukel on Old University Ave while waiting for his car to go through the car wash. Kaaren was waiting outside the apartment building next door for three Egyptian professors or grad students to arrive. They have been shown around town and to Milwaukee by Kaaren after she met them at TGI Friday's earlier in the month. There was a swimming pool at the apartment and Kaaren and her children Anita and Joey enjoyed the pool.

1984 August 5
My office complex Odana Park was having its annual party for renters and guests. Two bands, free food, drinks and dancing until dark. I had invited three women to the party, all three involved in real estate and none of whom I had dated before. Jim McMichael called me about 10:00am and said “I've arranged for you to meet this woman at TGI Friday's at 1:00pm. She will be there, WITH HER MOTHER as they will be in town from Sauk City contracting for an apartment later in the afternoon.
I rode to Fridays on my bike wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It was 95 degree temp! I was 15 minutes late. Kaaren and Marge (her mother) were asking every good-looking guy coming in the door “are you Tom?”. When I arrived I spotted them looking for someone and went to the table. Kaaren was on the right and Marge was on the left. We had a great visit and they had to leave for Sauk City as Frank Gaukel was dropping off the children for the weekend.
After I returned to my office party, now in full swing, I called Kaaren at the “shack” and said “It's a great party, lots of kids, music, food and drink – bring your mom and Anita and Joey.” Kaaren said Mom's going to take the kids roller skating – I'll come. We started dancing and clicked right away. So much fun!
About 10:00pm we left the party and we drove two cars west on Old Sauk Rd to Pleasant View Rd where the First Lutheran Church was, built in 1866. They had a front steps that I wanted us to sit and talk and watch the full moon go across the sky. We did just that until about 2:30am and Kaaren finally went back to the “shack” and her mom was waiting up for her and very mad – “You stayed out until 2:30 with that man???”

1984 August
Kaaren was going to be at the Greenbrier Apartments office to sign the lease on Wednesday and I had waiting for them a bunch of yellow glads in a vase. (they were cheap) The next few days I helped her move with the aid of a trailer that I had borrowed from my business partner, Herb Hanson. The week went fast and Kaaren got settled with two boxes turned upside down as end tables for her bed. I eventually moved in also! My apartment on the east side was rented to two young women so it was fine – didn't need to sleep in my office anymore! We went all over the area as I had lots of fun showing Kaaren around. We each had a date that we honored but as of Thursday until today, we became forever together.

1985 June 5
We were married! Officiating were Pastor David Hein of First United Methodist and Kaaren's brother Lutheran Pastor Paul Skatrud-Mickelson.
Also in attendance were my brother and his wife and baby & Kaaren's parents; Mike and Marge Mickelson & Kaaren's children; Anita and Joey Gaukel & my children; Kip with wife Beth Luker; Karyn German with husband Tom German & Toni Dahlquist with husband Gene Dahlquist.
We left the next day on our Honeymoon, flying to Seattle-Tacoma Washington. We stayed at the home of Kaaren's sister, Kristi and her husband Mark Heggan.
We arrived on a very sunny day, somewhat unusual for Seattle! We lounged on the sunny side of their house and soaked in the sun, entertained by Kristi's daughter, Julie, riding a horse around the yard. On Tuesday we left, with Kristi, for an experience with Mount Rainier. What a day in store for us. Beautiful trip there in the car with the great mounting looming closer and closer – we made it to 10,000 feet.

2004 October 6
Janet Christianson Boucher – Janet sent me copies letters that my Grandmother Gladys Parsons sent to her mother, Aletha McGee [see 11/19/52 & 7//31/53 notes].
Her note read: Dear Tom & Kaaren, Tom, your kids might enjoy these papers saved by my mother – the letters.
She also enclosed a picture from the Villisca Review that featured “A Par of the Class of 1953” which was a picture of the Kindergarten Class, taught by my mother, Vivian Stinson. Pictured were Joan and Jean Marvick working on drawing boards, & working on the construction of a “hous” were Lois Shrimpton, Janet Lee Christenson, Tommy Stinson, Russell Acton, Doris Lee Hale, Donnie Bradley and Gene Westerlund. At the reading table were Dickie Lee Northrup, Deloris Schroeder, Eddie Govig, Richard Marsh, Wilma Pierce and Dale Mains.

2013 July 13
Kaaren & Tom were taking a day trip in western Dane County & Iowa County. With no known agenda, but Tom had an idea of what we might do, not really disclosed to Kaaren. We soon stopped at the Blue Mounds Cemetary to view and pay our respects to the Mickelson Family deceased. There were Gena and George Mickelson, the parents of Milo, Dorothy, Marvin, Emry, Alvin and Vernon. All but Milo and Dorothy are buried here. A defining placement of a metal toy John Deere tractor was permanently posted at the foot of Vernon Mickelson's head stone.
From the cemetery we went a bit further west on County ID, with Tom knowing that we would soon come to the Mickelson homestead between Barneveld and Blue Mounds. The home was obviously occupied, with evidence of a small child in residence. We drove up to a small trailer home that had a car parked outside, so we turned around and main house. Out came a young woman holding a tiny tot. We called out to her, stating Kaaren's beginnings and interest in the house. Guess we were talking loud enough that her husband could hear us as he came running out of the house with. Guess what? – the aerial photo of the property that was in a frame, hung on a living room wall! That started an hour-long animated visit with these new acquaintances.

PART 2: LETTERS

1946 May 6
Letter from Grandmother Parsons to Norma & Jack:
Kind friends – I am writing this line for Vivian to tell you how deeply she appreciated you coming to see her. She feels deeply grateful. These friends of Omaha, the Don Schonbergs, are attending a convention and will be home Sunday. They were going to call us Sunday evening, so he will contact this Mr. Spear.
Petie also wants to talk things over with Paul's father and mother and they will be over for the next weekend.
So glad you made the trip safely and that you enjoyed it.
Mr. Hiles called this noon and said he had talked with Mr. Luker.
We feel so very grateful to all you grand loyal friends. This is such a trying time and you are all so understanding and so fine.
As soon as Vivian talks things over with Don she will write her plans to see if theywill meet with your approval.
With Best Wishes, Sincerely, Mrs. A. Parsons

1946 June 28
Letter from Vivian to Norma & Jack:
My hands are always so shaky. I write a poor hand – but guess you can make it out.
We have enjoyed your notes., even tho we haven't answered. Mother keeps so busy on the home and it is such an effort for me. I have felt better lately but still get upset easily.
Petie came out & spent yesterday AM & we had a nice visit, so much better than just at nite.
The boys went to Villisca Wednesday and will come back as Arch's come this way on their way to Lincoln.
We will be looking for you next week.-- hope it doesn't get too hot for your trip.
The house here has been very comfortable.
Be seeing you, Vivian

1946 July 5
Letter from Vivian to Tom and Dick:
Dearest All,
My, we wonder every minute where you are and what you are doing. It is such a wonderful trip for you boys. I do hope you aren't wearing Norma & Jack out. We received a letter from grandma Stinson so know you got that far anyway.
I just got back to bed after being out in the living room for an hour or so. Each day I have I walked out there for awhile. Guess that was one accident that was well to have happened.
Mother cut a piece of that wonderful beef & is cooking it for tonite – my! It is so nice to have – but so much! They took the ham over to the meat market to keep.
Tom, I got a letter from Frances today & she says Charles Fisher doesn't like camp & he has written for his folks to come after him, but the rest like it. Spect he has to behave there & it doesn't go so well with him.
We enjoyed so much having you here, I wish it wasn't so far so you get so worn out with the trip.
Mother sent the box of clothes yesterday, so hope they arrive OK.
Such writing as this is.
Love to you all – Mom

1946 July 8
Letter from Grandmother Parsons to Tom and Dick:
Dear Darlings
It was so nice to get your letter today – and Norma's too. We really looked for word from you today – It was a surprise to hear Arch's stayed with you there to have that rest and visit.
Know you are having a wonderful time and your trip to Peoria and Dittmers yesterday I know was perfect. Mother was so happy about it. The little blue dish for the doggies food, I found in the yard, but will keep it awhile or will send it.
Mother walked out to the davenport again today. She didn't yesterday. Didn't feel quite “up to it”. Vernon's stopped here a few minutes last evening – had been to Cowles Lake for a swim. Judy Neary and Carol, Mrs. Hench's daughter, were with them.
Hugs & kisses, Grandma Parsons

1946 July 16
Letter from Vivian to Norma & Jack: (we were on a Great Lakes cruise from Chicago to Quebec City – a “get acquainted time” – one note about the trip: we were dining at the fabulous Chateau Frontenac hotel & I noticed a
dish of water with a slice of lemon in it & proceeded to almost take a drink, thinking it was lemonaid -- quickly reprimanded that “no, it's a finger bowl”!)
What in the world am I going to do with you people? I have never in all my born days seen such doings! To begin with it's ham, beef & many other things – then it's wonderful trips for the boys, then today to top the climax a bicycle is delivered! I have pondered and racked my brain to think of something I can reciprocate with but, everything seems like you have. Anyway, Norma and Jack, I think you have done so many wonderful things for all of us that I can't thank you enough.
Last nite Tom called when they arrived in Villisca, I didn't talk to him but mother did, & he was so happy and tried to shout out to express how happy they were and what a fairy tale time they had-- boat trips, sight seeing and all! We are so anxious for them to get over here and tell us all about it. I'll bet you gave a sigh of relief when that train pulled out of Chicago, because you must have devoted your every minute to them. Their train was ½ hour late he said, and they had to stand in such a long line to get to the diner that he said they almost didn't have time to finish eating.
Vivian Dittmer wrote that she thought you folks were grand – that we couldn't have found any one better for taking Tom & Dick if we had searched the world over.
I have been simply miserable today. Doctor Parsons has given me 2 kinds of medicines but it doesn't stay with me too well. So it goes tho, I guess. I don't know what I'd do if wasn't for the care I get.
I don't know just what day the boys are coming home, but I thought once they were here, if they wanted to stay for a band concert on Wednesday evening they could, then come here on Thursday. Does Tom know anything about this bike? I have had Petie call the stores in Omaha each day to ask if they had any in, because they said they would take lists of names, now I won't have to. Doctor and mother took it down in the basement & unwrapped it enough to see nothing was damaged & mother said it is beautiful! Really, folks, you are just too, too generous! Oh yes – the box of clothes came today too – & mother a box of Duz – Duz does everything, so now we are all set! Ha!
My dears, thanks again and again!
All our love and appreciation, Vivian
PS – I heard from Ethel Hiles last week and she was in Michigan at a cottage, going to stay for the month of July. She said she was so not good that Buford shipped her off there. Guess it is taking her quite a time recuperating from her operation.

1946 July
Letter from Grandmother Parsons to Norma & Jack:
Dearest Norma & family,
We were all so happy to hear from you again today. All got a kick “out of the bath” affair. That sounded just like him – where he gets his ideas is the $64 question??
Hope you aren't going to a lot of extra work for them, Norma – cooking, etc.
Know they are having a most wonderful time.
Day was very warm here yesterday, but pleasant here today. Rained someplace I think for it is cooler.
Vivian hasn't been very good the last two days. Face and eyes very swollen and upset stomach – was up three times last night – hasn't been able to keep anything down.
We are still living high – good beef and ham – the roosters in the garage are still crowing – meat and butter prices seem to have no limits.
My! How we miss the boys – their ball games and marble games – couldn't find your ball, Tom, but we put your bat away.
Mother is awaiting 6 o'clock this evening to talk with all of you. We plan to have her out in the wheel chair.
Must say good-bye for now.
Love and best wishes to all, Grandma Parsons

1946 July 21
Letter from Vivian to Norma & Jack:
We have enjoyed your two letters & the pictures today so much but I just haven't gotten up enuf ambition to write you. Mother always keeps so busy. I think she keeps too busy and is getting worn out, but you can't tell her that.
The pictures were fair weren't they – at least we get the general idea. I'll send these on to Stinson's to see, so don't bother getting any more for them.
The framed picture you spoke of a home, surely you may have -- at the back of that one are past large pictures that I have had of both boys. It's so hard to ask someone to pack & send it – you can get it next time you are here.
Petie & Don came out Tuesday evening – but I've been pretty sick the last few days. Feel better today tho, so try not to let many in.
The boys started Bible School this Monday, they go for 2 weeks, 9 to 11:30. After this is over I think I'll let Tom go to a YMCA camp for a week, there are several friends he knows from here are going.
The box you spoke of hasn't come yet, but packages always take longer.
The Schonbergs really liked you folks a lot – so I guess the feelings were mutual.
My, it was hot here yesterday – 97 degrees but today is cloudy, so is grand & cool.
Bet you are anxious to get the basement finished up, so hard to always be in such a mess, but will be nice eventually.
Here comes some soup, so must quit. Writing lying down doesn't look so good.
Love from us all, Vivian

1946 August 19
Letter from Grandmother Parsons to Norma:
Dear Norma
So hope you are better by now. Been summer flu and cold here, too due to our changeable weather I suppose. Last week we needed an extra blanket and yesterday we sweltered. Been nice today cool breeze from the north.
Vivian is more tired and distressed of late. And unable to retain much nourishment for the past two weeks. Today has been very miserable all day – things seem to bother her more and more. Her kidneys have bothered, too.
The boys are fine. The polio here has not reached an epidemic stage. Only 4 cases from here. But we all fear it. The boys are good to stay in our own yard and have not been swimming for 3 weeks.
We are hopeful our new lady will be here to help us sometime this week. It will help some too when the boys are in school – which won't be long.
Norma, if you folks have anything you'd care to talk with Vivian or care to come out and see them any time please feel free to come, and whenever it is convenient for you. You need not let us know necessarily – just come. We are so happy to have you always.
All are in bed but me.
Love and best wishes, Grandma Parsons

1952 November 19
Grandmother Gladys Parsons (living in Salt Lake City with Dale & Winnie Robey) wrote this letter to Aletha McGee, mother of Janet Christianson Boucher – Janet sent me copies of the letters 10/6/04 along with a Villisca Review copy of the classroom of my mother, Vivian Stinson when I was in the class. Grandma Parsons letter follows:
Thanks dear for your very “special letter” and your words of kindness
Life is a pattern of tangled dreams, hopes and futilities. They say it is what we make it – I cannot agree altogether, but anyway all we can do is try to do the best we know how.
Had a letter from Norma yesterday. All seems to be very busy – Tom was to be one of a group of honored guests to be entertained of the “Cross Country” runners at one of the big hotels there. She and Dick were going, “paying their own way” @ $3.00 per plate! But was very nice of Norma to do that, nice for Dick and I am sure would please Tom. Jack took the boys to the football game a week ago Saturday – Iowa vs. Illinois.
I imagine the boys will be in Villisca for Christmas. She didn't mention it in her letter....
I was invited out last week to a delicious wild duck dinner – Dale as yet hasn't gone hunting but says he wants to get a wild goose for Thanksgiving. They ate dinner with me last Sunday. All are fine. Gregory is so sweet and such a good baby. Diane is in 1st grade – big girl.

1953 July 31
Grandmother Gladys Parsons [living in Salt Lake City with Dale & Winnie Robey] wrote this letter to Aletha McGee, mother of Janet Christianson Boucher – Janet sent me copies of the letters 10/6/04 along with a Villisca Review copy of the classroom of my mother, Vivian Stinson when I was in the class. Grandma Parsons letter follows:
Thanks for your sweet note received yesterday. I am always so happy to hear from you. Congratulations to your sweet Janet. Know just how proud you are of her, and am so happy she can go on to college. Think she will like the University of Nebraska a lot – Lincoln is such a nice clean town. Tom went to work in a bank in Urbana the week after school was out and also works at a Dairy Queen place. I hope he doesn't have a nervous breakdown, being always doing something. He also was an “A” student through high school and was taken in the honor society and was chosen “King” at their Prom Ball and the “Queen” was his date - that had never happened before!
Tom and Dick are coming to Villisca to the Stinson's 50th wedding anniversary on the 26th of August, so Norma wrote me.
Dick is now at Culver.
Tom will write you I am sure and I know he did appreciate the 1953 Villisca High School 1953 Year Book that you sent to him. I knew how interested he would be to get all the news about those graduating.
Thanks dear girl for stopping at the cemetary – that is so dear of you to do that – and for being there on Decoration Day. I hope the peonies bloomed this year – imagine the rose bush has died.
Many many thanks to you my dear – Love, Gladys Parsons.

1953 July 31
Grandma Parsons sent another letter to Aletha McGee.
Thanks for your sweet note received yesterday. I am always so happy to hear from you. Congratulations to your sweet Janet. Know just how proud you are of her, an am so happy she can go on to college.


PART 3: POTENTIAL ADOPTIVE PARENTS

This is from Melinda Olson (Brother Dick’s first wife) about the strange circumstance about Dick meeting the former potential adoptive parents.
Marion and Evangeline Wilson were the two who were almost your adopted parents. Mr Wilson was the Principal/Superintendent at Island Elementary. He also coached us. Before coming to California, they were teachers. Newly married. Mrs. Wilson was a teacher at your mom’s school (Vivian) where she was the principal. They became good friends and from what I recall, your mom (Vivian) confided about her cancer and the concern of what would become with you two boys. M/M Wilson really wanted to adopt you boys, but for monetary reasons could not.
How we came about all the information, Dick was going to a KIWANIS meeting with my dad (Melinda’s Dad). Mr Wilson was their ride into town. After introductions, Mr. Wilson asked Dick where he was from. After a number of questions and further discussion, the “story” was discovered. What a coincidence! I love that story. Will always hold it dear to my heart.

Don & Petie (Elizabeth) Schonberg, Omaha – Good friends of Vivian and I think Don was guardian ad litem or Tom & Dick, and he drafted the papers that were involved in the adoption. Petie & Vivian were Phi Mu sorority sisters at Nebraska in Lincoln & Petie even came to teach school in Villisca for a time. Don & Petie were obviously asked by Vivian to pass judgment on Jack & Norma, it seems in one of the letters! Don (1906-1996) was an executive with Mutual of Omaha. Their son Donald II was born 12/9/36 & died in Peoria, AZ on 1/15/16. Second wife Judy Berry Duffek survives as well as sister Shirley Crites (402-980-2266) & children John (Maggie) (Stonebridge Capital Advisors, 2550 University Ave West #180S, St Paul MN 55144: 651-251-3637) & Susan (Don) Reutter & Ann (Stephen) Key. I spoke with John 4/18/18 & he gave me Shirley's number. I sent PDF copies of the beginning of my memoir to both Shirley & John since it includes mention of their grandparents.

Buford & Ethel Hiles, Chicago – Good friends and business associate of my father, Paul, in the Wear-Ever cookware business. They lived in Chicago and we visited them often and when Paul was promoted by Wear-Ever from my birthplace in St. Joseph, MO to Chicago, I became a friend of their son David, 3 years my elder, who became a well-known children's ophthalmologist in Pittsburgh, PA (known for infant intraocular lens implantation).

Art & Vivian Dittmer, Peoria IL – Paul & Vivian's best friends in Peoria, IL to where we moved after a short time in Chicago. Art was a movie projector operator which was a great job to show to youngsters!

Frances Fisher & son Chuck Fisher, Villisca IL – Frances was one of Vivian's best friends in Villisca (she sang “In the Garden” at my mother's funeral) & Chuck was one of my best friends. We would go sledding down the road outside the Fisher's farm. The reference in Vivian's letter about Chuck asking if his parents would come and get him from camp, which he didn't like, reminds me of Allen Sherman, the great comedian, singing “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadda, Allen here, from Camp Granada” – Google that & listen – you'll roll over with laughter!

Arch & Catherine Stinson, New Kensington PA – My father's brother & wife. He was employed by Wear-Ever in the Home Office, and later in Puerto Rico at their plant. He taught the great Zig Ziglar how to sell cookware. I found that out while talking with Zig when he was speaking at an event in Milwaukee.


The family extends a heartfelt thanks to the caring staff at Agrace Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, consider donating in Memory of Tom Luker to either Agrace Hospice, First United Methodist Church, both of Madison, WI or the University of IL – Athletics (https://jointheifund.com ). Each accepts checks or online donations.
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    In Loving Memory Of

    Thomas Luker

    November 30, 2021

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JH

Julie Stinson Heatherly

Posted at 12:01pm
As I was looking up some information on Grandma and Grandpa Stinson today, I came across Tom’s obituary! What a shock! My Dad was Tom’s Dad’s (Paul) youngest brother. Tom and I kept in touch sporadically throughout our adult years. Through his wealth of memories that he wrote down for his family it sounds as though he lived a very rich, wonderful, full and beautiful life surrounded by a lot of adventures and love!!!! Please know that my family is sending our condolences and love to you at this sad time.
JR

Joey R

Posted at 09:40am
Dear Karyn and family, I remember your dad's positivity and warm smile . Sending lots of love and hugs to all of you.
Tree Image
A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Thomas Luker
KG

Karyn German

Posted at 07:00pm
This is the link to Tom's Celebration of Life Service from Dec 11, 2021. Enjoy.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/OJY-ulBgvygTotVEn993_TpPriABmNAglvub00-d7zdirYMt1Q6tZQRc1Pxl6BJX.Iheba0FW9btJAR5e?startTime=1639260497000
LK

Linda Keegan

Posted at 09:47am
I knew Tom from work at a fundraising business. He was always hard working and polite. My best to his family during these challenging times. Linda Keegan
 
KG

Karyn German Posted at 06:44pm

Thank you Linda. Tom loved his work at Fundraising.
KL

Kirk Luker

Posted at 10:00pm
Dad's favorite poem that he wrote.
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