Thomas Dinkel, Jr

Obituary of Thomas Anthony Dinkel, Jr

Thomas Dinkel started his life story in 1941 in Colorado, where he became the younger brother of Patrecia, who preceded Tom in death just a few short months ago. If we go by the stories that Tom would tell, nothing really happened until he entered Saint Francis de Sales High School and became a Gremlin. To hear him speak of it, the relationships he developed there would stay with him for his whole life. In his later years, the reunions of the “Class of 1959” became a special point of focus for Tom – as was all of the accomplishments of all his Gremlin classmates. Post high school, Tom entered a whole new phase of his life that would take him away from his beloved Colorado when he entered the U.S. Navy. Tom excelled in nearly everything he set his mind to in the Navy and was at the time, one of the youngest sailors to achieve the rank of Petty Officer First Class, working as an Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician aboard the USS Hornet. Tom would serve two cruises of the USS Hornet into the Pacific and Viet Nam and his other duty was as part of the Air Crew for search and rescue helicopters. It was on this duty that he was twice awarded the Silver Star for actions leading to the rescue of downed pilots in enemy territory under extreme adverse conditions – including the first night rescue by a helicopter in the Viet Nam conflict. Injuries sustained in Viet Nam would bring an early end to his Naval career after 9 years. After service in Viet Nam, Tom started the next chapter of his life as an insurance then real estate salesman and subsequent business entrepreneur in his home state of Colorado. With his first wife, Judy, he taught his two children Tom and Linda his love of nature, fishing and football. Tom would remain a Denver Broncos fan throughout his life. When times were tough, Tom would search for the silver lining and reinvent himself. He did that when the real estate market dropped. Tom entered Regis College as a freshman in 1988 and finished his full four year Bachelors of Science degree in Business Finance in two short years. He often said he was energized by the youth of the students around him – pointing out that he skewed the curve on both grading and average student age. Tom would eventually find a different love for his life in Barbara, who preceded him in death, also a few short months ago. Together, they would see each other through the majority of their twilight years and support each other through Tom’s dream of ownership of a fly fishing store – which he aptly named Gremlin Fishing in homage to his high school classmates. He was able to create and manufacture his own line of rods until such time as health issues made business too difficult to maintain. Tom set about the last chapter of his story, embarking on a sole journey when he moved to North Las Vegas. There, he found solace with people who would become good friends, neighbors and his Sun City Aliante Veterans Club members that continually refreshed his sense of purpose. During this interlude of Tom’s story, he would try to connect as best as he could with his family and friends from his past, making several trips to both Colorado and California in his last few years. His life story came to an end in a fitting way for a “Tom Story.” He finished the difficult 2020 year on its last day, without pain and with all his dignity intact. After a long battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Tom’s angels came for him after a long visit from both his son and daughter. Tom leaves a legacy of a son, a daughter, 5 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren – all of whom would have loved his detailed stories. Thomas Dinkel will be forever remembered and entombed at 11:20am, February 11, 2021 at the Southern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Boulder City Nevada. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to either the Colorado or Federal divisions of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) organization.
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Funeral Service

2021-02-11 11:20 Southern Nevada Veteran's Memorial Cemetery 1900 Veteran's Memorial Dr Boulder City NV 89005
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