Townsend, Tom V. 1926-2021 St. Joseph, Mo.

Tom V. "Tommy" Townsend passed peacefully and gently from this life on June 15, 2021, in his own home, just shy of his 95th birthday. He was born July 6, 1926, in Bolckow, Missouri, to Cal and Eva (Violett) Townsend, the tenth of eleven children, all of whom preceded him in death.

In 1947, he met and became engaged to the love of his life, Nancy L. Schulte. They married a year later and savored 72 years of married life until her death in 2020. Together they raised five children, Steve (Cheryl) and Don (Annie) of Maryville, Missouri, Ken (Peg) Shawnee, Kansas, Fred and Jane (Randy) of Kansas City, Missouri. They welcomed 14 grandchildren, one of whom preceded them in death, and 29 great-grandchildren.

Tom's professional work life began at Lewis G. Moore & Co. in Maryville, in a host of positions ranging from radiator repair, service and sales of new and used autos and farm equipment, to eventual management. During that time, he also taught welding and other associated skills in programs established for veterans returning from WWII. In 1987, he purchased the business, moving it north of Maryville, forming Northwest Power Sales. Tom continued to work there daily through 1996 when he passed the business to his son, Don. Tom and Nancy also founded Northwest Services, a temporary employment agency, which they operated from the same location, serving local production industries for many years.

He was a man of strong faith, converting to Catholicism when he married Nancy. He remained active in parish and school councils for years and enjoyed involvement in both local and state level Knights of Columbus activities throughout his life. He was a valued member of numerous service organizations in Maryville, but the project closest to his heart was being instrumental in helping establish the Sheltered Workshop, now NoCoMo Industries, in Maryville, providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. He served on many boards and committees in both the public and private sector.

Music played a vital role throughout his life. From his first guitar to years of ballroom dancing, there was a constant tune humming from his lips. Tom and Nancy were extremely social, forming a rich circle of friends. He had a great curiosity and loved to chat with everyone! They traveled extensively, both domestic and internationally, but his favorite place was right at their kitchen table, surrounded by people he loved, having a game of cards and a slice of pie.

Tom taught so much to his children, life lessons as well as practical skills. Everyone could plumb and wire a house. Most could weld and rebuild a small engine. They all built houses and cars and businesses later, based on what was involuntary assistance during their formative years at his side. He encouraged most all ideas and plans, often supplying start-up financing - at market rates, of course. "If you think you can, or you think you can't - you are right," was his perspective. He never doubted a person's potential. He spoke with laborers at the same level of interest as he did bankers and always tried to leave folks with their head held a little higher. He loved to provide encouragement and opportunity to others, loved making a deal, and loved witnessing success stories. The most important lesson Tom lived was his deep and lasting love for his wife, Nancy. Never a harsh word between them, they set a beautiful example of true love and commitment. Her death last fall brought a sadness to Tom, but he did not languish in self-pity, instead he found joy in remembering so many wonderful moments, often speaking of memories long forgotten. He felt very fortunate to have shared his long and lustrous life with her.

A private family funeral mass is planned. An informal public visitation, open house, and celebration of Tom and Nancy will be held Saturday, June 26, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the home, 26859 Isadore Ave., Maryville.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Townsend Family Scholarship Fund at Conception Seminary College, c/o Faith Murray, Development Department, P.O. Box 501, Conception, MO 64433.

Online guest book and obituary at

As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.

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