Thomas Hays Neuenschwander (1948 – 2023)
Thomas Hays Neuenschwander, 74, died of natural causes at his home in Kenton, Oklahoma, on Monday, January 23, 2023.
Tom was diligent in his desire to live simply. He was a child of the ‘60’s who adopted a minimalist lifestyle, living life on his own terms and cherishing his privacy. He was true to his friends and was fortunate to have lifelong friends who were true to him.
Tom was born in Manhattan, Kansas, on April 23, 1948. He was the second son born to Ken and Ona Mae Hays Neuenschwander. He was a baby boomer, born in a converted army barracks in the years following WWII, while his father attended Kansas State University on the GI bill. His family moved in 1949 to Oklahoma which became his adopted home for most of his life. As a child in Tulsa, he attended Ben Franklin Elementary school, Eli Whitney Junior High school and Nathan Hale High school. Tom was a letterman in Track and Cross-Country, graduating in 1966 as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
As a summer job following high school, Tom worked in Oregon, alongside his older brother Mike, as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. In the fall, he attended Washington University in St. Louis on a full scholarship, where his brother was already enrolled. He and his brother transferred in 1968 to the University of Oklahoma. They dropped out in 1969 and joined the Marines, both advancing to the rank of corporal. Following their honorable discharge in 1971, Tom and his brother moved to Kodiak, Alaska, living in cabins that they built and working in the fishing industry. In 1978, Tom relocated to Austin, Texas, for several years before moving back to Oklahoma. He settled in the panhandle, in Kenton, where he was self-employed and worked as a ranch hand. Some of Tom’s happiest times were spent out in nature in such pursuits as fishing, kayaking, and hiking. He was an avid reader and travelled to Europe, Central America and Mexico, a favorite destination.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth E. Neuenschwander in 2013 and Ona Mae Hays Neuenschwander in 2022, both of Osawatomie, Kansas and his older brother, Michael G. Neuenschwander in 1978. He is survived by a younger brother, David E. Neuenschwander of St. Louis, MO, and three sisters, Elaine Neuenschwander of Osawatomie, KS, Kathleen Shipley (Michael) of St. Louis, MO and Marlene Neuenschwander of Lawrence, KS; two nephews, Wesley Teal (Christinia Crippes) of Ames, IA and Walter Teal of Lawrence, KS; aunts, uncles, and many cousins; lifelong friends David Clifton of Graford, TX and Paul Tucker of Noble, OK and longtime neighbors and friends in Kenton, OK.
The Henson-Novak Mortuary in Boise City, Oklahoma, is in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of the United States.
A graveside service is planned for a later date at the Osawatomie City Cemetery in Osawatomie, Kansas, where Tom will be buried next to his beloved brother, Mike.
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