LITTLE FALLS — Thomas “Tom” Oothoudt, age 64, of Little Falls, Minn., passed away Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at his home surrounded by his family and friends following a valiant battle with ALS. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, at First United Church in Little Falls, Minn., with the Rev. Damen Heitmann officiating. A visitation will be held at the Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service from 4-8 p.m. on Friday. Friends may gather from 9-10 a.m. at the church on Saturday. A prayer service and time of sharing will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home.
Thomas Joseph Oothoudt was born Nov. 4, 1948, in Little Falls, Minn., to the late Erling and Mardelle (Longley) Oothoudt. Tom was raised in Randall, Minn., and graduated from Little Falls Community High School with the class of 1966. Tom was united in marriage to Renae Larson on Jan. 29, 1977, at Bethany Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks, Minn. The couple made their home in Little Falls, Minn. Tom lived in Randall and Little Falls his entire life except for one year when he moved his family to Choteau, Mont., to do seismic drilling. They returned to Little Falls in 1981.
Tom started working for his dad (Erling) drilling wells at 13 years old. In the late 1960s, he went into the drilling business in Isle, Minn., with his cousin Harvey Exsted. In 1972, Tom and Harvey, along with Tom’s brother Ashley, bought Erling’s business (Oothoudt Drilling) and started North Star Drilling. North Star Drilling became one of the largest family owned drilling companies in Minnesota. In 1987, Tom and Ashley bought Harvey out and continued to own and operate the business until its expansion, diversification and growth led Tom and Ashley to sell to Boart Longyear Company in 1994. In 2009, they repurchased North Star Drilling water well division. Tom and Ashley continued to operate North Star Drilling until their retirement in July 2010.
Tom was an entrepreneur at heart. In addition to his well drilling business, he was part owner of the Drawbridge Bar, Country Inn and Suites and various real estate properties.
Tom’s hobbies and interests included a passion for hunting, fishing, softball, golf, skiing, spending time at his lake cabin and his hunting land. Other loves of Tom’s were country music, Texas Hold ‘Em, bridge and couples’ book club. He loved animals, especially his dog, Gus.
He was a member of First United Church of Little Falls, Minnesota Water Well Association and National Ground Water Association.
Tom is survived by his wife, Renae; his children, Greg (Lisa), of Champlin, Minn., Brad (Amy), of Little Falls, Minn., Amber, of San Francisco, Jesse (Amy), of Little Falls, Minn., Kris (Nellie), of Little Falls, Minn., and Layne (Scott) Freudenrich, of Little Falls, Minn.; grandchildren, Jenna, Callie, Brody, Carter, Ryan, Aiden, Rayna, Alex, Mason, Thomas, Ellyse, Aubree; siblings, brother, Ashley (Karen), of Moorhead, Minn., and sisters, Melodie (Tom) Blanchard, of Denver, and Sally (Terry) Erickson, of Little Falls, Minn.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials preferred to ALS should be The ALS Association (www.alsa.org), First United Church or the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are with Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service in Little Falls, Minn.