Thomas Nelson Tjornhom, DC, died peacefully at Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis on May 1, 2022, aged 92. Survived by his wife Nancy, who was 67; daughters Lisa (Randy) Roehl of Burnsville, MN and Sarah (Scott) Reid of St. Paul, MN; sons, Jon of Richfield, MN and Tedd of Franklin, TN; Sister Barbara (Richard) Nelson; 16 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. His parents, dr. Thomas and Stella Tjornhom, preceded him in death; son, Christopher Tjornhom; sisters Donna (Luther) Tverberg and Beth (Wayne) Ekelund; and great-granddaughter Demi Rodriguez.
Tom was born on August 14, 1929 to Tom and Stella Tjornhom in Saint Paul. He and his sisters, Donna, Barbara, and Beth, grew up in a home frequented by extended family and filled with music. Following in the footsteps of his mother, a singer, Tom sang in the youth choir at Immanuel Lutheran Church, where he was also a Boy Scout in Troup 90. He played trombone solos and duets with his father in church. Tom went to Groveland Elementary School and got his first job delivering St. Paul’s newspapers.
While attending St. Paul Central High School, Tom was president of the gun club and played his trombone in the marching band. He played in a jazz combo led by his lifelong friend, trumpeter Bob Ochs. The Tjornhom family spent many summers at Otter Tail Lake, a place Tom has happily shared with friends and family over the years.
Tom studied music education at Macalester College and played trombone recitals several nights a week. During the summers of 1947 and 1948 he worked at Yellowstone Park. It was in college that Tom discovered his love for vocal group arrangements. He arranged vocals for and performed in the Par Four Quartet, which won an Arthur Godfrey radio show competition and was on the program for a full week. (Par Four music
Par-Four Quartet – You’re Making A Wreck Out Of Me – Nice 50’s Pop Ballad (St. Paul Minnesota) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WiuYI6PFyc
In Macalester, Tom met his lifelong lover Nancy Luxon in German class. They married on June 11, 1955 and spent their freshman year in Colorado Springs, CO where Tom was stationed at Fort Carson. An inseparable couple, Tom and Nancy enjoyed short breaks together, including trips to Florida, the Bahamas, England, Scotland and the East Coast. Nancy assisted Tom in his office and he accompanied her in many service and volunteer activities. Along with Tom’s sister Barbara and her husband Dick, they sang at family gatherings over the years. (The Sentimentals Music https://youtu.be/GNwyPxzDoqo)
Proud of his service in the US Army. Tom was extremely patriotic. He loved honoring other veterans, raising an American flag, and singing and playing military songs, which he arranged for many bands. During his many years as a professional musician he played trombone in an army band as well as in many jazz bands, trios, big bands and symphony orchestras. Tom founded the Bloomington Chapter of the Society for Preservation and Enjoyment of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. He wrote and arranged many compositions for her. Tom was the founder and musical director of the musical group Satin Jazz and continued to play concerts until last fall. (Satin Jazz www.satinjazzlive.com)
Following in his father’s footsteps, Tom became a Doctor of Chiropractic and was the first chiropractor in Bloomington, MN when he opened a practice in 1956. He worked into his 90s, always doing what he could to alleviate suffering. After graduating from Northwestern College of Chiropractic (now Northwestern Health Sciences University) in 1952, he served on the alumni board for many years and was Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2000. Tom was named Chiropractor of the Year in 1969. President of the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, works tirelessly to advance chiropractic care in Minnesota.
Tom and Nancy settled in Richfield, where they raised their five children in a home filled with learning, adventure, and fun, including family outings, camping, skiing, sailing, a backyard ice rink, and spending time at Otter Tail Lake. Her door was always open to friends and family. A visionary and constant encourager, Tom passed on his optimism and work ethic to his children while encouraging and supporting their dreams. His musical influence led to some of them becoming professional musicians, and he was an integral part of the “Tjornhom Machine” that worked tirelessly to help his son Chris become state representative for Richfield.
As the beloved “dad” of his 16 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, Tom wasn’t afraid to hit the ground running and go on horseback rides, wear a silly hat, or use funny voices to the children’s delight. He and Nancy were heavily involved in their grandchildren’s lives, attending plays, concerts, sporting events and birthday parties. Tom passed his love of music on to his grandchildren, encouraging them to join school bands and even helping to find used instruments. He devised Christmassy and patriotic arrangements for them to play together and led the annual family band parade for the Fourth of July parade up north. Grandchildren will always remember Dad reading Luke chapter 2 at Christmas parties. Dad was also a prayer warrior, regularly naming each grandchild.
Tom lived a life of faith and service. He and Nancy were active members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where they formed lifelong friendships. He served as a Sunday School teacher with Nancy, Councilor, Choirmaster. He played double bass with the gospel group Gamble Folk, ministered at many churches, and played at a Billy Graham Crusade. (Gamble Folk Music https://youtu.be/AfwxsJWs3BA) He and Nancy were heavily influenced by the Lutheran revival of the Holy Spirit in the 1970s. Proponents of faith-based parenting, they formed a band and choir at Powderhorn Christian School.
Tom has served on several bodies including the Mjorud Evangelistic Association, Wilderness Fellowship and Pro-Life Action Ministries (of which he was also President). Tom and Nancy were involved in Voice of the Martyrs and hosted Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand at their home. They were great supporters of the Franciscan Peace Brothers. The Tjornhoms became members of Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel in 2005 and have enjoyed the fellowship and instruction in this community united by their love of God and country.
Active into his 90’s, Tom continued to treat patients, host family gatherings and perform in musical ensembles. In recent years he has reignited his gardening hobby and built his own ‘Victory Garden’ inspired by his mother’s WW2 garden. We will live the life of Dr. Tom Tjornhom on July 1 at 11:00 am with a service at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, preceded by a tour beginning there at 10:30 am. A reception follows in the Page Rooms at Boy Scout Base Camp.
“Music is the medicine.” — dr TN Tjornhom
“It’s so fun to know that you’re not alone out there, you have this Heavenly Father watching over you and watching over you and listening to you, and it’s not just pie in the sky, it’s real. The fact that God is real and that He sent His Son to pay for our sins and that we are forgiven and blessed and the answers to life’s problems are right in your hands, all you have to do is is to turn to him, pray and watch the miracles happen. It’s absolutely fantastic!”
The 91-year-old’s answers to life’s problems: “It’s absolutely fantastic!” https://youtu.be/AfwxsJWs3BA
–Tom Tjornhom, June 4, 2021
Published by Legacy on June 27, 2022.