Thomas “Tom” Dean Graham

  February 10, 1950 ~ December 31, 2019

      Thomas D. Graham, 69, Sioux Falls, died Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at the Dougherty Hospice Home in Sioux Falls.

     Memorial Services will be 10:30am, Saturday, January 4, 2020, at St Therese Catholic Church, Sioux Falls.  Visitation will begin at 9am.  Inurnment at the State Veteran’s Cemetery will take place at a later date.

   In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Thomas Graham Memorial fund to be given to the State Veteran’s Cemetery.

     Thomas Dean Graham was born February 10, 1950, to Fredrick and Margaret (Schaffer) Graham, in Sioux Falls.  He graduated in 1969 from Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, SD. Upon graduation he joined the US Marines and served 2 tours in Vietnam. Tom achieved the rank of Sergeant before his discharge in August 31, 1973. In 1976, along with his father, he opened Graham Salvage in a small building on E. 5th St, then expanding to N. Weber Ave in 1982, in Sioux Falls. Tom married Gina Gulbrandson in 1983.  From that union, two children were born. In 1994, after the closing of Graham Salvage, he worked various jobs, including Dakota Transformer, in Flandreau, SD. He considered that one of his greatest accomplishments in turning the business around and making it successful. 

    Tom used his retirement years spending any available moment with his grandchildren, whether it be swimming, the zoo, or the park. He could be found frequently at the softball diamonds cheering on his oldest granddaughters’ team. He was known to be a kind man, funny and very family oriented. Tom also enjoyed golf, fishing and playing a game of cribbage. He really enjoyed telling stories, whether true or not, that was for him to know and for you to guess.

     Tom will be deeply missed by his children, Tabitha King, Sioux Falls and her children, Logan, Makenna, Raegan, Landon, and Gracelyn; and Cody Graham, Sioux Falls, and his son, Jovaun; and five siblings; Carol Graham, Paso Robles, CA, Jack (Toan) Graham, Sioux City, IA, Susan (Jerry) Henne, Jasper, MN, Teresa (Dennis) Kaarup, Sioux Falls, and Cynthia Beynon, Sioux Falls; many other nieces, nephews and extended family.

     Tom was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, LeAnn Skaff; and one grandson, Reilly Johnson.

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  • Tom was a kind hearted gentleman and was a friend to everyone he met. I was truly blessed to call him my Brother in law He will be truly missed. RIP my Brother.

  • Joel Clark says:

    There haven’t been many men like Tom. He is at once the guy who you want with you in a dark alley and the guy who can look past your faults and call you friend. He was also easy to underestimate, there was so much that he kept to himself, probably out of humility. He is among the most honorable men I have known.

  • Dave Linton says:


  • steve @ Sandy elrod says:

    Tom was basically our best friend and former neighbor. We got together as often as we could and always had a great time. I will miss his voice, because it was like no other when he would come up the driveway and say “hey steven”. not too many people called me steven. And he was always “Tomas” to me in reply. Tom, if your looking down today, always remember my brother, I love ya and so does Sandy(whom he had a loving heart towards) WE MISS YOU!

  • Al & Jan Arends says:

    R.I.P. my friend

  • Sister Kathleen says:

    It was a privilege knowing Tom. I taught him in third grade. He grew to be a good, generous, holy man. May he rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd.

  • Brenda Reeves says:

    My condolences to all of Tom’s family.

    My folks, Jake and Joan Jacobson thought the world of Tommy, as they called him. My mom used to babysit Tom and Cindy when they were little.

    I had lost contact with Tom the last several years, only running into him once or twice while out and about.

    I knew something was up when Tom didn’t show up at my mom’s funeral in 2015. Cousin Tommy (that’s what we called him) was always at all of the family funerals, even for those that they didn’t know very well. He always showed his respect for others. Then I found out he was sick. 🙁

    One of my best memories of Tom is:

    In 1990 or 1991 (memory escapes me), I organized the first Yellow Ribbon Parade to honor all veterans of all wars / conflicts. Part of that was looking for help from those that knew how to put on parades and finding sponsors to help fund it. I contacted Tom about the parade and he was all in. He wanted to help as much as possible. He came to some of our meetings and brought great ideas to help make the parade a success.

    The day of the parade, he brought his Graham’s Salvage tow truck and flatbed with some decorations on it (a float) to drive in the parade. I don’t remember who did it but someone got a country singer to play and sing on the float, all of my kids and some of their cousins were on the float along with my baby brother Jake and one of his friends, who were Marines that had just come back from a tour in Iraq. Tommy was so proud of his entry in the parade! The look on his face was priceless!

    Afterwards, us adults met down at Tom’s shop and we sat around visiting for a bit.
    Cousin Tom told us lots of stories and we shared many of laughs that night.

    Tom was a very good person with a huge heart. <3

    I will miss Tom and I will always remember his kindness.

  • Sharon Stich says:

    Tom we had a lot of fun with our neighbor get togethers Will miss that and your smiling face. What a kind hearted friend that would do anything for anyone. Rest in peace

  • Mary Jennings says:

    Tom was a fun person to have around! Did not know his family, but he came to our place hunting with a relative Peppi.. Even Evans!
    They were up too see me late last summer and he planted some plum bushes,, so the guys could eat a few berries when they were hunting,
    After he had been here a few times, we connected in the fact, that he worked with my brother back when he had the salvage yard! Small world, My brother has been gone almost 30 years! Life goes on!
    My sympathy to Toms family, his suffering is over, and at peace!
    Death leaves a heartache no one can see,
    Love leaves Memories no one can steal!
    Glad I got to know you Tom! RIP!

  • steve says:

    Tom your voice when you would say “hey Steven” will be dearly missed my friend/brother. I can only wish we would have played more cribbage. We will see each other again I am sure, sleep well my friend until we do

  • Romain Oliver Nelsen says:

    And my accolade to Tommy could be simply said: ‘Tommy made me smile,” no matter my mood or my distance time and place from him.

    But more, Tom makes me smile, even now as I cry for my loss of his corporal being. Explain: Tom and I took on years and geographic distance. You know, straight said, we aged, got sick, got all those things that life brings. I’ve had some years and have encountered people in time. We all do. Comes to it, I didn’t have that much time with him.

    But oddly and blessedly, Tom Graham’s glowing, boyish charm bubble into view, just thinking of him. Just now, even, his boyish smile is here. I’d guess some forty or more years have intervened since Tom and I were together, in the same spot. We’d chat by phone, now and then.

    Then Tom got the sick so serious as to deflate any being. We’d chat more infrequently — my bad. Carol and I talked of him, laughed, cried, lifted a glass. Here’s the crux: Tom’s span took him to worthy manhood, while somehow allowing boyish charm. Among charmed and charming Tom held a unique persona. Among a family of Grahams, his siblings, all, but especially Carol and Leeann. Understand, please, that singling Carol and Leann does not make lesser those I’ve not named. Leann became California, as we are. And Carol honored us with beloved children, and we had that time with Tommy, who blessed us with his smile, an unquenched charm..

    Thank you for you, Tom G.
    Romain Oliver Nelsen, Davis, California

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