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Tom Hosier — Rochester

Thomas E. Hosier, 73, of Rochester, died Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, at Season's Hospice House.

Tom was born on Sept. 15, 1942, in South Haven, Mich., to Ernest and Frances (Sorensen) Hosier. He grew up in a neighborhood of kids playing kick the can, touch football, riding fat-tire bikes and delivering newspapers. From his early years, Tom's leadership skills were a hallmark of his character.

Tom graduated from South Haven High School in 1961. During his high school career, he earned 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and track, and was named to the all-state football team. Tom earned a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Colorado, where he played under Sonny Grandelius. After a career-ending knee injury, he transferred to DePauw University, where he majored in Communications and English. While at DePauw, Tom transitioned from football player to football coach and met his wife, Janet (Hellberg). They married Aug. 20, 1966. Tom earned a master's degree in physical education at Indiana University and an additional teaching degree at the University of Michigan, where he coached as a graduate assistant under Bump Elliot.

Tom began his professional coaching career as a football assistant at Bemidji State University and Gustavus Adolphus College, where he also served as the head track coach. In 1973, he accepted his first head coaching position at Eureka College. He turned Eureka football into a winning program and was named coach of the year in 1975 and 1976. Tom went on to coach Macalester College from 1979-1989. In 1980, Tom led the team to a win against Mt. Scenario, breaking the school's 50-game losing streak. He later wrote about the "big win" in his book, "Mac is Back." Tom then coached Winona State University back to a winning program. He retired from coaching after three successful seasons with Rochester Community and Technical College, but continued teaching into the fall of 2015.

Tom was inducted into the Hall of Fame at South Haven High School, Bemidji State University, Eureka College, Macalester College, and Winona State University.

Upon retiring from coaching, Tom embraced his love of history by helping re-establish the Civil War Roundtables in Winona and Rochester. Tom and his son, Scott, co-founded the World War II Round Table in Rochester. As many as 500 people have attended these monthly meetings. In 2003, Tom and Scott began interviewing World War II vets with a goal to capture and share their stories. Tom interviewed, recorded, and honored more than 200 veterans. He loved every minute.

Tom's goal was to make history come alive. He created the Wood Lake Battlefield Preservation Association and, along with a board of directors, achieved a National Historic Site designation for the battlefield located near Granite Falls. A conservation easement has allowed visitors to now freely walk the site and appreciate Minnesota history firsthand.

Tom also had a vision to build the Minnesota Veterans and Emergency Services Museum, a state-of-the-art facility that would honor and celebrate those who have put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe. He and his committee worked tirelessly to seek support, secure funding, and establish a proper site that would enrich people's experiences who reside in and visit the Rochester area.

Tom was a leader, a gentle soul, an amazing listener, and a friend to everyone. He cared about people in a way that made them know they mattered. He was a teacher, mentor, and father figure to many, and he infused all of his interactions with sharp wit or gentle teasing.

His family and friends will remember how he loved family traditions, time in Door County, playing games — especially cribbage and Liverpool rummy, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, hunting and fishing, reading, traveling and guiding history bus tours.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents and son, Scott.

He was a wonderful husband, loving father, adoring grandfather, caring brother, special uncle, and loyal friend. Tom will be missed by his wife, Janet, of nearly 50 years; his two daughters, Tracy (Stephen) Hooker and Amy Hosier; three grandchildren, Morgan, Blake and Grant; two sisters, Shirley (Ted) Poulton and Nancy Hagy; and his nieces and nephews.

A service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2, at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester.

Mahn Family Funeral Home — Rochester Chapel, 1624 37th St. NW, is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations go to the "Rochester Area Community Foundation Tom Hosier Memorial Fund."