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Thomas B. Thielen, 85

Mar 29, 2020

Thomas B. Theilen

(Formerly of Blue Earth) Thomas Bernard Thielen was born on Oct. 10, 1934 in Exira, Iowa to Bernice (Kerwin) and Bernard Thielen and passed into eternal life on March 23, 2020.

Due to the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, a private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Boone, with the celebrant Fr. Brian Hughes. Burial will be held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery in rural Easton.

Tom attended country school in rural Exira, transferred to Exira High School and graduated in 1953. He earned his undergraduate degree at Mankato State, with a BS in History and Coaching. He earned his Masters degree in Counseling at the University of Wyoming and his PhD in Higher Education at Indiana University. Tom served his country for six years in the Army Reserves. He taught and coached at Blue Earth, where he met his wife, Evelyn Mary Rauenhorst. The couple married at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth on July 29, 1961 and were blessed with six children. His career was devoted to higher education, serving as Vice President of Student Affairs at Farmington, Maine, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Iowa State University, where he retired after 20 years.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was on the boards of Main Street Living and United Way and many other civic and educational organizations. Tom was awarded a Fulbright Grant to West Germany and Corsica. He was also invited to the Oxford University (England) Roundtable and was honored by having the student health center at Iowa State University named after him.

Tom was a man of faith and taught his children the values of honesty, hard work and caring for the less fortunate. As one grandchild stated, “Grandpa didn’t teach us how to be a family, or how to be good or generous or kind – he showed us.” He was defined by his humility, his humor, a strong work ethic in academics, athletics and most importantly by his family and his Catholic faith.

Survivors include his wife of over 58 years, Evelyn Thielen, and all of his children, Mary (Jerry) Clark, David Thielen, Michael Thielen, Brenda (Neal) Schwager, Matthew (Stephanie) Thielen and Daniel Thielen; 15 grandchildren, Sarah (Jimmy) Burgess, Daniel (Raquel) Clark, Katherine Clark, Jessica (C.J.) Porterfield, Sam Thielen, Magdalen Thielen, Luke (Sarah) Schwager, Clare, Julia, Joanna, Gretchen and Cecilia Schwager, Tomas Thielen, Nick Thielen and Hannah Thielen and five great-grandchildren; his sister Mary Jo Nelsen of Cozad, Nebraska; in-laws Harold and Lorraine Hassing, Mildred Miller and Ray and Sharon Rauenhorst; and many nieces and nephews.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents; in-laws, Joseph and Magdalen Rauenhorst; and three brothers-in-law, Lieutenant Leo Rauenhorst, Richard Nelsen and Richard Miller.

As his dementia progressed, he may have lost his memory but his spirit never wavered. He continued to grace his family and friends with his love and a gentle smile. We are so grateful for the dedicated staff at Bickford in Ames and Kindred Hospice for their loving care and compassion given to Tom and his family.

Memorials may be directed to Hope Ministries (provider of safe shelter for men, women and children who are homeless and hurting) or Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and may be mailed to Schroeder-Reimers Memorial Chapel, PO Box 15, Boone, Iowa 50036.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)