Thomas Lee Eleson was born on February 20, 1953 in Omaha, Nebraska and left us on March 30, 2021 in Fargo, North Dakota.
He was born to Marie and Irwin Eleson. His early life was spent with his parents and four siblings (Linda, Cindy, Bill and Charity) on a farm in western Iowa where his dad was the pastor at a country church. It was there that Tom developed his first love for music, which began to mature when the family went on the road for a period of time and Tom’s father preached at various churches in the south and Midwest, and the kids and Marie provided the musical program. Tom started by singing and playing hymns on his coronet—not his instrument of choice—and the piano, but later, in his teens during the 60s, graduated to the guitar, the instrument that would become one of the ways he was able to express himself to the world. A dreamer and a creative, Tom played for friends and family the music of the artists he loved—Neil Young, Robert Plant, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Jim Morrison and Leonard Cohen—and later began to write his own songs and play in bands when he had the opportunity.
In the seventies he spent time traveling with friends and in the late seventies, he served in the military and was based in Europe. Then, in 1981, in a chance encounter on a Greyhound bus, Tom met his love, Cindy Smelser. Cindy was his ballast and gave him a home for his heart. Tom and Cindy married in 1981 and lived in Missoula for a time, but later moved to Sidney where they lived for several decades. Tom worked at various jobs including those he held at Border Steel and Richland Opportunities, Inc., but it was music that called to him as a vocation and was the thread that continued to weave through his life.
While in Sidney, Tom and Cindy raised two wonderful children, Katyana and Tevis. Tom loved his family fiercely and with all his heart, and he felt like the luckiest man that they loved him. He was joyful when the family expanded to include Jake Weidenman (Katy’s husband) and Katy and Jake’s three darling children, Onezime, Eletta and Ismae. Even though he knew he stumbled, they were there to hold him up and hold his hand. A final farewell to everyone he loved and the life he leaves behind from one of the songs Tom wrote: “I will always love you, no matter what we have behind us, I will always love you, when planets are just dust.”