Thomas Patrick Halstead, also known over the years as Tom, Tommy, T, Tiny, Toughskin and Hugger, passed away on October 8th at his beloved home at Arcadia Park on Big Turtle Lake in Northern Minnesota. This was a culmination of a decades long series of serious health challenges and a brave and prolonged battle with cancer. One friend referred to him as “The Cat with 100 Lives.” In his early days, Tom was a keen and accomplished athlete, playing youth hockey, then ski racing and distance running. For most of his life and up to the end, he was a passionate outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman. In summer, he was often seen cruising the waters of Big Turtle Lake on his pontoon boat and pulling innumerable Walleye and Northern Pike, Bass and Crappies from his favorite (and in some cases to the consternation of his fellow anglers) secret spots. In winter this was done on his snow machine which allowed him to cut a wider swath over the area's frozen lakes.
Tom served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War on the famous aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. He was a graduate of Edina High School (whose mascot was ironically The Hornets) and attended college classes at a variety of institutions, including the Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin and Foothill College in Los Altos, California. Following college, Tom had a career as a sales and tech rep in the ski industry, working for the Trak and Kneissl ski companies and Killy Skiwear and through his own rep business, first in New York then in Southern California. Above all, Tom will be remembered by his many friends for his native intelligence, quick wit and sharp, sometimes black and acerbic sense of humor and his ability to conduct his life on his “own terms.” Some say his real calling should have been standup comedy. In his later years, Tom chose to live pretty much “off the grid” at the family lake home along with his “best friend” Springer Spaniel, Sophie and his giant Main Coon cat, “Come here” or “Kitty.”
Tom is survived by his older brother, Michael Halstead, and Mike’s wife, Sally Frear Halstead, and their daughter Lauren Frances Halstead. Tom has been cremated and his friends and family will hold one or more celebrations of life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Tom would have preferred that any contributions be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or The Nature Conservancy.
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