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Feb 27, 2024 (0)

Thomas Philip McDermott, 98, of O'Neill, died Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, at his home, surrounded in prayer with family near and far.

Visitation was held on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill with a rosary.

A requiem mass was held Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in O'Neill. Fr. Michael Sellner officiated.

Burial was in the St. Theresa Cemetery in O'Neill with military rites provided by the O'Neill American Legion Simonson Post 93.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Thomas was born in Bethel, NY on Sept. 22, 1925 to Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McDermott. He enlisted in the United States Navy on Nov. 29, 1943 during World War II, he started his active service on Dec. 6, 1943 at the Naval Station in Sampson, NY and Camp Wallace, Texas. He also served at the Naval Auxiliary Station in Corpus Christi, Texas and Chase Field in Beeville, Texas. His four brothers also served during World War II. 

  After being honorably discharged on June 13, 1946, he moved to the Black Hills area where he worked at Homestake Goldmine in Lead, SD.  

He met Patricia Bestgen through his cousin Kay and the couple then married on June 25, 1952 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Sturgis, SD. Tom and Patricia were married 62 years.  They went on many adventurous trips with a car full of kids around the Black Hills and to the family farm in New York. Tom held his wife's hand as she took her last trip without him. 

After a mine cave-in, he went into the house building business. He worked as a contractor for 32 years in Sturgis. Tom built and remodeled many homes. He was a master stonemason and his specialty was flagstone fireplaces. A beautiful enduring memorial of Tom's work is the stone gates he built at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sturgis.  

During this time, he also served on the City Council of Sturgis and Knights of Columbus, holding the office of Chaplin. Tom worked until his mid 80's. 

  Tom's greatest love was his family who meant everything to him. Nothing made him happier than having his children and grandchildren around. When they would leave for the day, he would sadly say, “They're all gone, the house is so quiet.” He was a man that was kind and generous to everyone. So many people's lives were touched by him and he will be missed by many. 

Tom is survived by family members Kathleen Klabenes of O'Neill, Marcy Cleem of Pembina, ND, Marijo (Greg) Klabenes of Inman, Jessie (Daniel) Zaharia of St. Mary's, KS, Lisa (Tim) Timmerman, Colette Sherman, Mark McDermott and Tom (Kathy) McDermott, all of O'Neill, and Amy (Kent) Pavlik of Verdigre; one son-in-law Jim Chilson of Florence, SD; 50 grandchildren; and 26 great-grandchildren

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Patricia McDermott in 2014; one daughter Gina Chilson in 2021; two sons-in–law Allan Cleem and Tom Sherman; one granddaughter Julianna Pavlik; five brothers Jerry, Ben, Johny, Matt and George McDermott; and four sisters Mae and Margie McDermott, RoseAnn Alligier and Aggie Bernhardt.                            

  “I am going to join my ancestors; in whose mighty company, I shall not be ashamed”

  One final thought, Dad wants his tools back. (you know who you are)


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Thomas P. McDermott

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