Tom W. Lammon, 78, of Aberdeen, passed away Monday, August 24, 2020, at his home.
Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, August 31, 2020, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 409 2nd Avenue NE, Aberdeen, with Father Michael Griffin, Celebrant. A luncheon and time of fellowship will immediately follow at the church fellowship hall.
Burial will take place at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Westport, SD at a later date.
Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements.
Visitation will be 4:00-5:00 p.m., Sunday, at the mortuary, with a Rosary being said at 5:00 p.m., followed by a liturgical wake service. Visitation continues one hour before Mass at the church on Monday.
Family and friends may sign Tom’s online guestbook and also view his service via the live stream service link at www.schriversmemorial.com.
Thomas “Tom” William Lammon was born to Verna (Rhoda) and William W. Lammon, II in Butte, Montana on March 7, 1942, three months to the day after Pearl Harbor. He lived a colorful life with sleeping in airplane hangar tents in the mountains while his parents ran a logging operation shooting his dad’s pistol at Ice Cakes on the Yellowstone River at the age of four, to toting that gun while herding sheep on a rattlesnake infested prairie, and driving truck and tractor at the age of eight. Tom’s humor started back then and when he said his dad threw him in the river to learn to swim. He said “the water was cold, but the hard part was getting out of that bag.”
The Lammon’s packed up all their animals and moved to Midland, SD in the winter of ’51-52’. Tom’s dad had been hired by the town board to try and restore order to the bar which had been overrun by local tough guys who had put the bartender in the hospital. Laborers were in short supply and at 10 years old Tom was approached to drive a flatbed Mack semi. He said that in those few weeks he learned words he had never even heard of before. Life after that consisted of 4-H, Boy Scouts, piano lessons, driving tractors and receiving a set of wings for 2,500 hours of identifying airplanes for Ellsworth AFB with the ground observation corp. He also popped 50 bags of popcorn by hand to sell three nights a week at the local movie theater. Tom remembered working for the railroad at age 15, laying every steel plate on the tires from Wall to Midland, SD. At age 17, he was sidelined with South Dakota’s second case of Guillain Barre Syndrome, which left him totally paralyzed for three months. He pulled through that to become quarterback his senior year and center for A-Team basketball and then going on to work on state construction. Tom had already started a band called “The Mystics” back in Midland and it took off in Aberdeen. After two years of college in Aberdeen, he could see that the music was already paying more than a teacher’s degree, so it was then that he decided to pursue a career in music. The Mystics played dance halls, proms and clubs all over the Midwest. They worked with tv stations, The Hullabaloos from England and the Everly Brothers and won the “National Ballroom Operators Award” and cut a number of records. When the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of Fame started up, the Mystics were a first-year inductee along with Bobby Vee and Sherwin Linton.
In 1970, Tom married Evelina Lesmeister and with the help of Sherwin Linton, started a 17-year stretch of country music. They worked from North Dakota to Texas and Utah to Nashville, stopping after 10 years to have their only son, William Wesley. The couple was off for three weeks and went back to backing country music stars and spent the last five years traveling with The Joe & Rose Lee Maphis Show. Tom played drums, guitar, and 5-string banjo and was given a number of handmade special guitars. During this time, Tom was inducted into the North Dakota/South Dakota Musicians Hall of Fame. They pulled off the road and Tom worked for the Brown County Highway Department 50 hours a week, in addition to working 40 hours a week as a certified nurse’s aide and also playing music on weekends. Sometime later, Tom joined a group called “Independence” headed by Joni Ruhoff-Middleton. They played casinos, clubs, and ballrooms, as well as Las Vegas and many years at the Brown County Fair. Tom and Joni developed a relationship and he realized that she was his humorous, musician soulmate. They were married in 2000 and were both inducted into the SD Country Music Legends Hall of Fame. Tom always said that his secret to success was because he always surrounded himself by musicians that were better than he was. From day one to the present, he had the cream of the crop.
Surviving Tom is his wife of 20 years, Joni Lammon; his son, Bill Lammon; grandchildren: Bill Lammon, Jr., Thomas Lammon, Murphy (Brett) Casey and Madison (Bryce) Lammon; step-children, Jared (Rachel) Middleton and Alyssa (Cameron Prescott) Middleton; step-grandchildren: Laila, Jace, JC and Jack; and his sister, Phillis (Art) Schwartz.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Verna and William Lammon, II; his first wife, Evie; three brothers: Herb, Conrad and Vern Lammon; and his only great-grandson, Christopher Casey.
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