Thomas Edward Finnegan was born on February 24, 1949 in Beardstown, Illinois the son of Thomas and Lillian A. (Tucker) Finnegan. He was reared and educated in Illinois, graduating from St. Bede Academy in 1967. He continued his education at the Milwaukee Wisconsin School of Engineering, receiving licensures and certification as a Locomotive Engineer.
Thom entered the United States Air Force on February 25, 1970 and proudly and honorably served his country stateside during the Vietnam War. His specialty with the 1942 Command Squadron was as a Flight Facilities Equipment Repairman. One of his duties included work as a Ground Navigational Aids member of a Presidential Support team for Richard Nixon at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida where President Nixon flew into on Air Force One before flying by helicopter to Key Biscayne FL. Thom moved up the ranks quickly and was made a Staff Sergeant with just over a year of military service. He was responsible for the maintenance and repair of all of the navigation, tactical, landing systems, glideslope and more for the ground to air aircrafts. He was honorably discharged from active duty on February 22, 1974 and continued to serve with the reserves until February 24, 1976.
In March of 1974, Thom began a 36-year career with the Railroad System. He started as a Brakeman but quickly was promoted to Locomotive Engineer. His career took him to many cities and states including Centralia, IL, Alliance NE, Beardstown IL, West Quincy, Buick, Viburnum, Cuba and Brookfield MO, Grand Forks ND and Dilworth MN. He retired from the Railroad on December 1, 2010.
While working in Grand Forks, Thomas met his beloved Wendy White and they were united in marriage on August 15, 1992 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Warsaw ND. They made their home in Comstock MN for 26 years. While living in Comstock, they opened their hearts and their home to many foster children through the years.
Thom’s many talents, his aptitude for computers and computer programming and his outstanding work ethic was an asset sought by many employers. In January of 2008, he began working as a Project Estimator for Builders Drywall, Inc which was later known as Denali Drywall Inc. in Fargo ND. This job involved using his many known skills and he also developed many new skills. He was a dedicated, hard-working veteran employee of Denali’s at the time of his death.
For several years, Thom and Wendy enjoyed spending weekends at their campsite at East Bay Campground and later Ackerman Acres. In 2019 they made a permanent move to Ackerman Acres, enjoying all four seasons in North Dakota. Thom enjoyed fishing, gardening and woodworking and many other outdoor activities.
Thom’s years as an Engineer, and his leadership qualities made him the perfect Local Chairman of the Local Committee of Adjustment for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers for 14 years. He also served as the Secretary/Treasurer and Alternate Vice General Chairman for several years. He was an active member of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Horace ND and life member of the Knights of Columbus. After moving to Devils Lake the family were members of St. Joseph Catholic Church. Thom also enjoyed membership in the ELKS Lodge.
Thom’s talents were many, but he considered his family and dear friends as the true blessings in his life. He loved his Lord and Savior, he treasured his family, he proudly served his country. Thom will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Thom’s loving family include his wife Wendy of Devils Lake and son Domingo S. Finnegan both of Devils Lake; daughter Katie Mitchell, Aubrey TX; sons Blaine Finnegan, Belleville IL and Brit (Melissa) Finnegan, St. Louis MO; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Kerry and Tammy White, Grand Forks ND, Myles White, Kendallville IN and Leslie Cole, Larimore ND and several beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
“Remember Thom, you’re the Knight and cancer is the Dragon”. (Domingo)
Mass of Christian Burial for Thomas will be on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:00 noon at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Devils Lake with the Very Reverend C.F. Wilhelm celebrating the Mass. Visitation will be held on Friday, June 4th at the church from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The Rosary will be recited at 11:30 a.m. prior to the funeral Mass.