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Pause Days Gone By by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Tom by adding your memories and photos.

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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“So sorry for your loss JoAnn..Remember some good times with Tom during high school..also remember you Joann and your sister Linda...prayers for you...Read More »
1 of 28 | Posted by: Sandee Pullman-Smith - Ft Pierre, SD

“I've been waiting, hoping that some wonderful words of comfort and insight would come to me; but they haven't and I guess waiting isn't working. I...Read More »
2 of 28 | Posted by: Kristine Giroux - Lenexa, KS

“We were saddened to hear of Tom's passing while we were out of town for the holidays. Tom and JoAnn made such a striking couple, no wonder they had...Read More »
3 of 28 | Posted by: Cindy Curr - Gregory, SD - Friend

“To the family and Jill and Arturo, We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers.George and Linda ”
4 of 28 | Posted by: George and Linda Stukel Boles - SD

“My Dear Childhood Friend, Sorry that miles have separated us, again. Today has been a day of memories as I thought of you as the funeral tribute...Read More »
5 of 28 | Posted by: David Sandberg - Provo, UT

“I handled claims for Tom in the late 1980's. My Dad raced thoroughbreds so we always had horses to talk about. Loved his big, friendly smile and he...Read More »
6 of 28 | Posted by: Karla Ryno - Wood, SD

“So sorry to hear of the passing of Tom. Always enjoyed Tom when I was teaching in Gregory and the Elliason family sympathy and prayers being sent...Read More »
7 of 28 | Posted by: Jane Leibel

“It was so good to see Tom twice in the past 6 months. I especially enjoyed visiting with him and JoAnn recently here in Utah. They have always been...Read More »
8 of 28 | Posted by: Michelle Sandberg - Lehi, UT

“Saddened by the loss of Tom. I'll really miss seeing him at sporting events~he was a loyal fan. He was also a great boss when I worked at State Farm....Read More »
9 of 28 | Posted by: Raeann Opp - Gregory, SD - Friend

“I will remember Tom in My prayers, and offer my heart felt sympathy to the family in this time of sorrow.I was a classmate at Gettysburg High School,...Read More »
10 of 28 | Posted by: Gary Zimmerman - Prescott, AZ

Tom in 84 I believer at his father's runeral “Tom was my older cousin. Our mothers were sisters. My father died just before I was 8 and Tom and his family were our main support. I always...Read More »
11 of 28 | Posted by: Gilbert Sandberg - Lehi, UT

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the Eliason family at this sad time. While in my late teens I was privileged to spend some time living...Read More »
12 of 28 | Posted by: Tim Buchanan - Friend

“A good friend while we were at Gettysburg High School. He was known for his honesty, his horsemanship & his willingness to help others. The GHS...Read More »
13 of 28 | Posted by: James Strickland - Eugene, OR

“A good friend while we were at Gettysburg High School. He was known for his honesty, his horsemanship & his willingness to help others. The GHS...Read More »
14 of 28 | Posted by: James Strickland - Eugene, OR

“I enjoyed Tom during our brief years in country school and high school in Gettysburg. We lived on Art and Vivian's ranch for awhile and remember it...Read More »
15 of 28 | Posted by: Larry Chilstrom - Rapid City, SD

“Our sympathy to JoAnn and family at this difficult time. Tom was one of the first people we met when we moved to Gregory, to continue with our State...Read More »
16 of 28 | Posted by: Pat & George Weston - OK

“I love and admire this man who was an important part of my growing up years. I have some many wonderful memories of my cousin and I am grateful that...Read More »
17 of 28 | Posted by: Kathleen Sandberg - Provo, UT

“I first met Tom when I went up to Tom's to look at some young horses. Gregory was a long way from Oklahoma but something about Tom in our...Read More »
18 of 28 | Posted by: Fred and Billie Williams - OK

“I was honored to cut Tom's hair when I was living there, I knew I'd see his smiling face every couple of weeks, couldn't have hair hanging over his...Read More »
19 of 28 | Posted by: Donna Harrison - Sioux Falls, SD

“Tom and I went to kindergarten together. He was a good friend, always kind and a superb horseman. My deepest sympathy in your loss. Joyce ”
20 of 28 | Posted by: Joyce Westphal - Springville, UT

“Doug E Dale & family...I'm sorry for your loss, Tom was a great guy and was always really nice to me. He will be greatly missed. I want to give you...Read More »
21 of 28 | Posted by: Bryan Herman - Phoenix, AZ

“So sorry to hear this. Tom is a great man who helped raise a great family, many great memories. You all have my sympathy ”
22 of 28 | Posted by: Wes Hoffart - West Des Moines, IA

“JoAnn and family, My heart aches for you. I know how hard it is. My heartfelt condolances. ”
23 of 28 | Posted by: Patti Busch - Mission, SD

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, God's Blessings be with you! ”
24 of 28 | Posted by: Bob and Glynnes Sargent - Pierre, SD

“Deepest Sympathies goes out to the family. RIP my friend.Bob ”
25 of 28 | Posted by: Bob Altenburg - Pickstown, SD

“Didnt know Tom that well but what i know he was a very mild Mannered guy. i never seen him cross and usually had a smile, only time i seen him upset...Read More »
26 of 28 | Posted by: Richard Papousek - Colome, SD

“My heart is broken for you all. I am so sorry for your loss. ”
27 of 28 | Posted by: Michele Steffl - Burke, SD

“Tom as my inspiration to excel in the horse industry. After making many trips to the ranch in Gettysburg and watching him compete in such a wide...Read More »
28 of 28 | Posted by: Larry Larson - Rapid City, SD


Thomas Dale Eliason was born on July 29, 1941 in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He was the youngest of three children born to Arthur and Vivian (Nelson) Eliason. He began elementary school at the Catron Country School and graduated from Gettysburg High School. Tom attended the Brigham Young University in Utah. He married JoAnn Martin in 1963. To this union, eight children were born. The family moved to Gregory in 1977. Tom had a special place in his heart for Gregory. He enjoyed being active in the community and was never hesitant to lend a hand to a neighbor. Tom supported organizations such as Gregory athletics, the commercial club, and 4-H. He also served as a State Farm agent for 39 years.

Tom's first passion was a good horse. Tom learned most of his horsemanship skill from his father. He always said his dad was the best horseman he ever knew. Through this mentorship, Tom grew into one of the most successful horse trainers in South Dakota history. He judged many prestigious horse shows in the US and Canada, including the Cow Palace and Congress. One of his most memorable accomplishments was winning the AQHA World Championship in 1977. Tom trained and rode Mr. Flintrock to the world title in the Heeling competition and was top 10 in the Working Cow Horse.

Tom had a knack for discovering talented horses. He was especially proud of Wilywood, who he acquired in the late 80s. Tom and three of his children competed on Wilywood and his colts. Their success led to another important phase of his career. Tom was responsible for breeding numerous horses that were outstanding on many levels. He was a mentor to many aspiring horsemen.

Those who knew Tom knew of his strong faith. He was devoted to serving his church and took on many leadership positions. He loved studying, discussing, and teaching scripture with his family and friends.

Tom passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack while doing what he loved, checking cows, on December 22, 2016.

Tom loved and was devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife, JoAnn and his eight children: Blaine (Shari) Eliason of Madison, Gregory (Tricia) Eliason of Salt Lake City, UT, Jill (Arturo) Barreto of Gregory, Douglas (Rachel) Eliason of Salt Lake City, UT, Sally (Sid) Atkin of Grantsville, UT, Robert Eliason, of Gregory, Bethany (Kelly Lindwurm) Eliason of Gregory, and Blake (Meghan) Eliason of Stillwater, OK. Tom was blessed with 18 grandchildren: Katie, Sam, and Will Eliason; Jacob Eliason; Isaac, Eli, and Luke Barreto; Jack and Max Eliason; Tess, Gracie, and Mya Atkin; Bridget and Abby Eliason, Karson and Avery Lindwurm; and Maggie Eliason. He is also survived by his brother, Dan (LeAnn) Eliason and his brother-in-law, James Bond and a host of family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Cindy (Eliason) Bond, his infant brother, Steven, and his infant grandson, Nathan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Tom Eliason, 75, were held Wednesday, December 28, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at Gregory Memorial Auditorium in Gregory, SD with Ed Midgley conducting the service. A visitation was held Tuesday evening at Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home.

Annette Wagner and Leann Schrader were in charge of registration.

Tess Atkin and Brody Boes were in charge of flowers.

Music was provided by Eliason cousins singing "How Great Thou Art."

The invocation was given by John Fincher.

Tributes to Tom were given by Kathie Bartlett and Gary Heintz.

Tylor Fagerhaug sang "Strawberry Roan."

The speaker was Tom's brother Dan Eliason.

(Kathie's, Gary's, and Dan's tributes can be read in Life Stories.)

Tom's granddaughter Katie Eliason sang "Amazing Grace."

The closing prayer was given by Tom's nephew, Eric Eliason.

Casketbearers were Blaine Eliason, Gregory Eliason, Douglas Eliason, Robert Eliason, Blake Eliason, and Glen Ellis.

Interment was in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Gregory, SD.