Thomas Marion Bahr

Thomas Marion Bahr passed away peacefully in Bemidji, Minnesota on October 22, 2020 surrounded by his family.Thomas was born on October 2, 1937. He is the son of Peter and Gertrude Bahr in Bemidji, Minnesota. He attended Bemidji High School and soon after enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served his country with honor in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. He married Mary Frances Wilcox in 1958 and they had five children. Tom spent 20 years serving his country, moving quickly up the ranks, continuously recognized for his valuable contributions and awarded certificates of performance by his military superiors. After more than two decades of exemplary service to his country, he retired as a Major in 1978. During his time in service overseas, he worked as a communications officer, establishing a line of communication for military personnel. Soon after retirement, Tom went to Sangamon State University in Illinois and received his Bachelor of Science in Business and Masters in Business Administration. After retirement, Tom joined a small group of executives to establish MCI, the first deregulated telephone company is the U.S. Using technology acquired in military service, Tom established the first phone tower in Bensenville, IL, which ultimately led to deregulated phone service, and many technologies we have today such as cell phones and wireless and satellite-based communications. After retirement from MCI, Tom enjoyed many lifelong hobbies such as fishing, woodworking, and hikes in nature. He split his time in Florida at his condo in Ormond Beach and in Bemidji at his cabin on Lake Bemidji. He dedicated himself to service by assisting with Habitat for Humanity building homes for those in need. Tom was a man of honor and values. Being the first member of the Bahr family to receive a college degree, he encouraged and helped his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to advance their education to reach their dreams. Tom enriched all the lives he touched here on earth, with his nobility, honor, adventure and connection to nature, he inspired many to spend more time admiring the miracles of nature. He was a big fan of the sea turtles in Florida, amazing us with pictures of the tiny creatures hatching up on the beach and running to the sea. He spent many years gathering family history for his family and produced a book entitled, “A Walk With my Brother” about his family and growing up logging in Bemidji in the 1940s which was developed with chronological timelines of ancestors gathered through meetings with family elders. Tom is survived by his five children Thomas Bahr, Deborah West, Steven Bahr, Rebecca Webber and Mark Bahr, their mother Mary Bahr, and grandchildren Matthew, Kelly, Colleen and Laura West, Annmarie and Jillian Loehr, Peter and Camille Bahr and two great- grandsons Ezra and Zachary West. Tom is the 3rd child from a family of nine of Peter and Gertrude Bahr, who preceded him in death along with his eldest brother Don Bahr. He is survived by his brothers and sisters Jim Bahr, Darrel Bahr, Joan Parks, Jean Ulve, Dan Bahr, David Bahr, and Mary Oellien, and his many nieces and nephews. Later in life, Tom spent many happy years in retirement at his condo in Ormond Beach Florida and Lake Bemidji cabin with his companion Maggie French. His celebration of life will be at a later time and his ashes will be released with Military honors over the Atlantic Ocean near Ormond Beach.


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