Thomas Drayton

thomas drayton

Thomas Drayton died Tuesday, November 5th at Elim Nursing Home, surrounded by family and assisted by Hospice Care.

He was born on January 28, 1938 in Orchard, Nebraska to Gurney and M. Carol Drayton. He grew up and attended school in Orchard, Nebraska. He attended Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska and graduated from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. He was a member of Acacia Fraternity while attending C.S.U. Tom served two years active duty and four years reserve duty in the United States Navy. After serving in the Navy, he worked as a credit reporter for Dun and Bradstreet in Nebraska and South Dakota. Later, he worked for the State of Nebraska as a dairy inspector.

Tom married Priscilla (Polly) Moller in 1962. In 1963, he purchased a franchise for King’s Food Host restaurant from founder Larry Price, Lincoln, Nebraska. Known for the “world’s best hamburger,” Cheese and Tuna Frenchees, it was located at 1332 Main Avenue, where Mom’s Diner is now located. Tom operated that restaurant for sixteen years. He was a realtor for the Land Office Company and later owned and operated the Mid-Town Laundry in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Tom was the local president of the Fargo-Moorhead AFS (American Field Service) high school foreign student exchange program for several years. He placed more than sixty students with host families during that time and he was also a host parent to students from eight different countries, eight different years.

Tom was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Fargo and served on the boards of Trustees and Elders.

He loved his cats General Grant and “Bug.” Gospel hymns, original country music, and opera were his favorite types of music. Johnny Cash was his favorite performer. Before his health failed, he enjoyed golf, bowling, hunting, fishing, trapshooting, and woodworking. He also enjoyed the games of Bridge and Cribbage. He enjoyed the time spent with friends and family especially his children and grandchildren at home and at the lake cabin that he designed and he and his two sons built.

Tom is survived by his wife Polly and his sons Jay(Margot) Drayton, Jeff Drayton, and a daughter Jennifer Kuznia and eight grandchildren: Alexandra, Bailly, and Tommy Drayton, Greg, Gabriel and Grace Drayton, and Anthony and Jameson Kuznia. He is also survived by his mother M. Carol Drayton (100 years old), and his brother Terry (Martha) Drayton and sister Ann (Steve) Fuscher and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Gurney Drayton.

 Tom’s family would like to thank the Health Care Providers at Essentia Health, Vibra Hospital, and Sanford, Elim Care and Rehabilitation Center, Hospice of the Red River Valley during his care.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Fargo ND
    Dear Polly and Family,

    We were very sad to read of Tom’s death while visiting family in San Diego.

    We count ourselves as blessed to have known you and Tom and your family as our backyard neighbors while our families grew up.

    Tom was a remarkable person and a truly goodhearted man. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him or met up with him. We always enjoyed his company and stories exchanged especially our random contacts in Hornbachers.

    God be with you and your family in this time of sorrow. May the “wind always be at your backs and the sun rise up to greet you each morning on your journey”.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Marie and Dick Stevens

  2. denver coPolly,
    So sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family for your loss. I’ve got to know Tom’s sister in the Denver area and she spoke so highly of her brother. Warm Regards, Barry and Michele

  3. Dear Polly, I was so saddened to hear of Tom’s death. I am glad I got to see you and meet him at our class reunion in N.C. I pray that your memories will be sweet and your faith strong. He may not be in your arms, but he is in God’s. My sympathy to you and your family,
    Patty (Brudigam) Drake

  4. Agawam MAI worked along side of Tom on his dads farm & also in the hay fields. Tom was with me when I drove his dad’s Studebacker pickup into Mcbrides lake. God bless you Tom. Bruce Howard

  5. Tampa FloridaWe send our deepest sympathy for your loss of a loving husband, father and special friend.
    I too will have an unfillable hole in my heart for his loss, our life time friendship means more to me than I can describe.

    Lyle Trease

  6. Fargo ND
    I worked for Tom at his Moorhead laundromat. He said I was the worst employee he’d ever had. He only kept me around because I made him laugh–(and he knew I needed a job). He taught me how to jam so much laundry into a single machine that it barely rotated–yet the clothes were clean. He taught me how to iron a shirt in 5 seconds–and insisted those pressed-in wrinkles didn’t matter. He told me how utterly stupid I was for investing in Intel instead of oil (which was $16. a barrel at the time, and was in the eighties last I checked.) He taught me that only idiots vote Democrat (which I did, of course). He pretended to be disgusted that I could always beat him in the laundromat’s Miss PacMan machine, but I knew secretly he didn’t care, as long as those quarters kept going into the machine–and ultimately his pocket.

    Tom–I suspect I’ll be right behind you, so save me a place.

  7. Sioux Falls SDMy sympathy to the family of Tom Drayton. Mr. Drayton was my first employer at King’s Food Host in Fargo when I was a teenager. He was an excellent manager, a kind man, and had a great sense of humor. I am sure he made the first employment experience positive for many young people.

  8. O’Neill NebraskaSo sorry to hear of Tom’s death. Praying for comfort and peace for you, Polly, and the family.

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