Thomas Mathew Dummer
1932 ~ 2018
Captain Tom Dummer, age 85, recently of Edina, MN, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on July 26,2018. He was preceded in death by his wife Rita.
Tom was born in 1932 during the depression, the youngest of eight children to Stella and William Dummer. His father died when he was just 4 years old. This left his family in a bad spot. He often told stories of how poor they were, having to paint the shoes on their feet, the food on the plates and the furniture on the walls. He grew up fast, being taught by his older brothers and sisters and at the age of seven began working on nearby farms for the summer.
His mother and Rita’s mother were good friends and sang in the church choir together. During practices it was common for all of the babies to take naps together outside the church in the sun. For this reason dad liked to joke that he had been sleeping with Rita for a long long time.
Mom and Dad went to school together from kindergarten through high school. Mom was the top of the class and dad was near the bottom. The nuns would scold him for constantly staring at sweet Rita Baumann.
We don’t know when but at some point we know Dad wanted to become an Air Force pilot. In order to become one there was a requirement of a four year college degree so Dad enrolled at St. John’s. The story as we know it is that one day Dad was studying and learned that because of a shortage of pilots for the Korean War, the Air Force dropped the requirement for a four year degree. Dad immediately closed his books, left to enlist and was accepted into Aviation Cadet Training. He flew the T6 Texan during training school and after earning his wings flew air refueling airplanes [tankers]. His top rank was First Lieutenant. His relationships with his Air Force classmates was lifelong.
After leaving the Air Force Dad was hired by Northwest airlines (NWA) on July 5, 1959. He flew various aircraft including the DC-3, Lockheed Electra, 727 and DC-10. His favorite flight destinations led him to a lifelong love of hibachi at Benihana. Many of the later years of his flying career were spent training other pilots in the flight simulators as well as flying planes. He was known as a tough but thorough trainer. His career inspired 3 of his 4 children to become pilots. His philosophy was if you’re not going to do it right don’t do it at all. He was a demanding captain, well deserving of trust and respect by all of his trainees, crew and passengers.
He retired in 1992 from NWA and admitted that the only thing he missed were mid- winter layovers in Honolulu.
Following retirement, he was able to devote much more time to his passions of fishing and hunting, including many trips to Canada, New Ulm, Lake of the Woods, Lake Millais and Big Stone lake with friends and family. He loved to hunt morel mushrooms and wild asparagus. His favorite mushroom, asparagus and fishing spots were a closely guarded secret .
He loved to putter in his home workshops. He built things, fixed things and helped with many remodeling projects.
Dad loved to spend time with his entire family. he loved reunions, annual hunting excursions, weddings, birthdays. His favorite pastimes were crosswords, playing schaafskopf, uno, dominoes and cribbage. At games, he delighted in cheating as much as he could get away with. He was famously antsy wanting games to move at a brisk pace and once when chided responded “We’re not playing for fun you know. “
He spent a lot of time helping others through life’s challenges. One of his difficulties was learning to accept help for himself. But this he finally learned to do with grace as he found that everyone needs help in their life. It was then that his perfectionist personality softened to his signature phrase, “Ok, fine.”
Dad wanted you to remember how much you meant to each other.
We are so proud of the husband and father he became, with little example-to follow. Dad, you gave us all a wonderful life. You will be remembered for your sense of humor, your perfectionism, your love of the outdoors and you firm connection to your roots. Good job, Rest In Peace and in good company. We love you.
To fly west my friend is the flight we all must take for a final check
- Dummer Family