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Thomas Frank Matejka, 65, of Breckenridge, MN, passed away surrounded by his loving family on Friday, March 30, 2018 at Sanford Broadway Medical Center in Fargo, ND. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 with a prayer service at 5:00 p.m. at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge. Visitation will resume from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home and will be followed by the funeral mass at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 5, 2018, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Breckenridge. Special Memorials may be given to Post 53 American Legion Baseball and St. Mary’s School Building Fund, which were both incredibly important to Tom.
Thomas Frank Matejka was born on July 31, 1952 in Breckenridge, MN, the son of Frank and Mary Lou (Rick) Matejka. He grew up in Breckenridge and received the first eight years of his schooling at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Breckenridge. He continued his education at Breckenridge High School, graduating in 1971. Immediately after graduation, he attended Alexandria Technical College, Alexandria, MN, to pursue a degree in law enforcement. On December 21, 1972, after receiving his diploma, he enlisted in the United States Army. He served his country for three years: the first year was spent at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, CO and the remaining two were spent in Frankfurt, Germany. While in Germany, he was assigned duty as a military police officer with the Czech Border Patrol. Prior to being discharged from the Army, Tom received a job offer on December 5, 1975 from Sheriff Ehlert Wilson to join law enforcement for the Wilkin County Sheriff Department. He began his career with the department on January 1, 1976.
In 1979, Tom was appointed as Chief Deputy Sheriff by Sheriff Beryl Osmondson. In 1990, he was elected to oversee all of Wilkin County’s law enforcement officers as their Sheriff for 20 years and considered them all to be the finest. Tom was a member of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association throughout his career and served as Senior Service Sheriff of the State of Minnesota during his last term as Sheriff. Tom led with conviction and dedication, the same principles that determined how he lived his life. He took each of his roles seriously and he executed them with commitment and passion. He retired from the Wilkin County Sheriff Department on December 31, 2010.
On August 9, 1991, Tom was united in holy matrimony to Carole (Melcher) in Seattle, Washington and they made their home together in Breckenridge. Tom was not only blessed with a lovely wife, but he also became a stepfather and grandfather at that time as well. The couple enjoyed their life together, especially during the many vacations they took to visit family and friends; they truly enjoyed spending their free time at South Turtle Lake in Minnesota. Tom was a loving caregiver to Carole after her health began to fail; she passed away in 2010.
Tom continued to live in Breckenridge after Carole’s death and poured his time and energy into the community as a volunteer. He started the Wilkin County Sheriff’s Posse and placed a Sheriff’s substation in Rothsay, MN. In 2006, he initiated the new law enforcement center in Breckenridge and worked to secure several police contracts with local area communities. He was a proud and active member of the American Legion, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Tom was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He filled his mornings by drinking coffee, playing cards and enjoying the company and friendship of Marilyn Dohman. Tom was a creature of habit: after playing cards for one hour, he would return home to read the paper. He looked forward to each trip he and Marilyn would take; they both enjoyed traveling and sight-seeing. Tom was a lifelong outdoorsman who enjoyed long days of hunting and fishing with Dwight Walvatne and his Dalton, MN friends that he made throughout the years. They were all known for fishing walleye on the Lake of the Woods and hunting waterfowl in Southern Manitoba, Canada.
Because of his character, Tom was able to excel in any endeavor. He had a magnetic personality that drew people to him and his integrity was an example to many. He left the world a better place by the life that he lived and the service he gave to the community.
Tom is survived by his siblings, Jerald (Beverly) Matejka of Gillette, WY, Nancy (Bryce) Boehler of Lisbon, ND, Janet Matejka of Fargo, ND; one niece, Bailey Boehler of Lisbon, ND; his daughter, Kally (John) Glander of Wahpeton, ND; his daughter-in-law, Janet Hingst-McMullen of Fargo, ND; two grandchildren, Breinne Glander of Fertile, MN, and Captain Chad (Kate) Hingst of Okinawa, Japan; his great-grandson Thomas Glander of Fertile, MN; and his special companion and dear friend, Marilyn Dohman.
Tom is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary Lou (Rick) Matejka; his loving wife of 19 years, Carole (Melcher) Matejka; his sister, Sue Matejka; and his son, Lloyd Hingst, Jr.