Thomas Ray Tulenchik, age 70, of Pequot Lakes, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Known affectionately as “Tommy T” to all that knew and loved him, he was born on October 21, 1952, to Raymond and Doris Tulenchik.
Tom spent his childhood growing up in Pine River with his parents and brother, Mike, amongst a multitude of cousins, aunts and uncles. As a child, Tom had a knack for taking in wild animals. Whether it be baby skunks or foxes in his youth to the chipmunks he trained to feed from his hand in later years, animals always gravitated to his side. His beloved dog, Buddy, will be laid to rest alongside him.
Tom would later relocate to Pequot Lakes where he would start his own family and raise three children. As a father, his competitive spirit really shined. From wrestling with his kids to teaching them chess at the age of 4 (just so he had an opponent), he never let them win unless they truly earned it. Things he insisted his kids be schooled in included: muscle cars, strategy and video games of all kinds, Sci-Fi, Clint Eastwood and Kurt Russel, analytical analysis of the lottery system (and that it could be cracked despite expert belief) and the B-movie horror genre.
Tom met his true love, Bonnie Watt, later in life when “a pretty little gal” as he would write, showed up on his doorstep to ask for help with her broken mailbox. To those who knew and loved them, it was as though two lost puzzle pieces had found their perfect fit.
To say Tom was “known” about town would be an understatement. His charisma and larger-than-life personality made anyone walk away with a tale to tell.
Tom’s favorite role in life was grandfather. He came alive when he got to see his grandchildren. He loved hearing their stories and laughing with them.
Tom leaves a huge hole in the hearts of his family and friends who will miss his fast talking, colorful stories and that very distinct and infectious laugh. He will never be forgotten but forever remembered and missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.
Thomas is survived by his children; Tammy Tulenchik Sivert (Brad), Luke Tulenchik (Camille) and Tara Tulenchik (Nate); his beloved grandchildren: Vander, Violet, Sawyer and Aveline; brother, Mike Tulenchik (Karen); aunts: Mavis Hakola, Ruth “Sis” Brogle; along with many wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his love, Bonnie Watt; his parents, Raymond and Doris Tulenchik; and his granddaughter, Elli Jean Hofmeister.
Services will be 11 AM on Monday, January 30, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Pequot Lakes. Visitation will be Sunday from 5 to 7 PM at Kline Funeral Home, Pequot Lakes, and one hour prior to the service. He will be laid to rest at Maple Hill Cemetery, rural Pine River.
We’ll look to the stars to see that twinkle in your eye, dad.