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Thomas Wayne Symonds
December 22, 1940 ~ October 8, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Thomas Wayne Symonds was born to Harry and Genevieve Belhuemer Symonds on December 22, 1940, in a little one room white house on the creek in Whitewood, SD, the youngest of seven children. The family later moved to Sturgis when Tom was a very small child. He attended school in Sturgis and throughout his teenage years he worked for Frances Haley and on Pete Quick’s dairy. In 1957 he went to work for Clinton Hoffmann at Alzada, MT. Tom rode saddle broncs and it was at Gene Brimmers’ Alzada Rodeo that he met his future wife, Peggy Maupin. He fell in love with her barrel horse “Rusty”, and he always said that the only way to get Rusty was to marry Peggy. The couple married in Sturgis on June 29, 1959. The young couple spent the first years of marriage breaking colts for Peggy’s dad and the neighbors. Tom loved to work with teams and broke several teams for himself and others. For several years, Tom and Peggy put up their hay, fed cows and fenced with a team. The family experienced the “no electricity-no running water-heat with wood era” and later felt like those were the Good Ol’ Days. Through the years the couple lived at Alzada, MT, Newell, SD and Sturgis, SD. Tom was proud when his kids took up the sport of rodeo. He could make a good saddle horse out of nearly every horse he broke, and he passed that ability onto his kids. Tom always enjoyed ranch work. He also spent many years driving a truck, logging and hauling hay and livestock. He hated hauling pigs. Tom also operated heavy equipment for a number of years. He had an amazing knack for taking an old worn-out piece of machinery and rebuilding it into a usable piece of equipment. No matter what he did for work, his heart always belonged on the ranch. The family raised registered Hereford cattle and rode good horses. Tom taught his children the country way of life, the meaning of hard work and how to be cowboy tough. That was how he lived his entire life.
Tom and Peggy, with the help of family and friends started the Maupin Memorial Youth Rodeo in memory of Peggy’s parents. The rodeo was held in Hulett for two years and moved to Sundance in 1980, where it was one of the most successful youth rodeos in the tri-state area for 17 years. Many lasting friendships were made during the years of that rodeo. The couple moved to Sundance in 1984 when Tom took a job with the White Ranch. Tom loved fishing, hunting, camping and spending time with his kids and grandkids.
Over the years Tom gained a strong faith in the Lord. His church pew was in the seat of a saddle, truck or tractor. In the last few years of his life his faith was obvious to those around him.
Upon Peggy’s passing in 2016, Tom’s health began to decline. He stayed active for a few years working with his good friend Floyd Canfield. In 2021 Tom moved to Warner, Oklahoma to live with his daughter and son-in-law, where he continued to teach a lifetime of wisdom to those around him. He passed away peacefully on October 8, 2023, in Warner with his family by his side.
Tom is survived by his kids, Rose (Bill) Bucholz of Vale, SD; TJ Symonds of Tonasket, WA; Marty (Lisa) Symonds of Sturgis, SD; Jamie (Johnnie) Rogers of Warner, OK and Clifford (Andee) Symonds of Mitchell, NE. Special friend and son Bill Elwood of Platteville, CO, brother Dick Symonds of Belle Fourche, SD; grandchildren: Danny (April) Elwood, Kelly (Tim) Elwood, Joni (Kolbe) Gravatt, Cori (Russ) Schone, Tami Rosser, Hamely Symonds, Billie Jo (Zande) Waddington, John (Elizabeth) Symonds, Kassidy Symonds, Brandi (Matt) Hicks, Justin (Julia) Symonds, Matessa Jorgensen, Trevor (Alexis) Jorgensen, Brayden Jorgensen, Brayce Jorgensen, Matthew Symonds, Clancey Symonds, and Oran Symonds; 27 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife Peggy; his infant son Jeffery Allen Symonds; his grandson SSG Shawn Gillespie; his parents Harry and Genevieve; his brothers Wayne, Darold and Melvin Symonds; his sisters Virginia Pawlawski and Janet Brink.
Graveside services will be held in the summer on June 29th, 2024, at Bear Butte Cemetery, 1040 Harley-Davidson Way, Sturgis, SD 57785 with a get together to follow in Sundance, WY.
And in case anyone is wondering, mom never would let dad have “Rusty”.