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Thomas A. Kerper

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Thomas Allan Kerper was born on Aug. 11, 1956, in Dubuque, the son of James Charles and Kathleen Meta (Langel) Kerper. He was baptized, received his first communion, served mass, sang in the choir, and was confirmed at St. Boniface Catholic Church in New Vienna. Tom was a member of the last eighth grade graduating class of St. Boniface Elementary School, where he met ‘some of the best people you could ever know.’ He graduated from Beckman High School in Dyersville in 1974, where he played the trombone in band and was a center on the football team until his knee required surgery. He also served on the Dubuque County Youth Advisory Board and was an officer for Operation New View. He enjoyed playing Little League and playing and coaching the Babe Ruth League baseball team in New Vienna for four years. 

Tom graduated from Loras College in Dubuque in 1979, where he majored in Communications and History, and was involved with the KLOR campus radio station. While in college, he met another group of dear, lifelong friends who still get together regularly. During his college years and afterwards, he satisfied his desire to explore and travel by driving motorcoach tours for Iowa Coaches, Inc., and Tri-State Tours. His travels took him to all 48 contiguous states, nine Canadian provinces, and seven European countries. He was an exceptional driver who delighted in making the vacation experience special and relaxing for his passengers. In 1982, he met Karen Marie Gorsh, and they were united in marriage on Dec. 20, 1985. They lived in Dubuque, and later in Madison, Wis., where Tom started a tour division for Badger Coaches before beginning his own tour company. 

In 1992, Tom joined the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and was an active member of his church, serving in various capacities. He and Karen moved to St. Louis, Mo., so he could attend Concordia Theological Seminary from 2002-2005, where he was also a member of the Laudamus Invitational Choir. He was fascinated to learn Koine Greek (the street language in the time of Jesus) and use it to interpret the Bible. He loved teaching Bible study, talking about God, and sharing his faith with others, especially later in life. 

His favorite leisure activities included watching and attending Cubs baseball, Iowa Hawkeye football, and Dubuque Fighting Saints Hockey games. He also loved music, finding it very therapeutic. He was a multi-faceted person who had a knack for “seeing the big picture” and for being able to have a conversation with just about anyone. Tom loved to travel and share his stories with others, but always considered the driftless area of Northeast Iowa his home. 

Tom is survived by his loving wife of 37 ½ years, Karen, of Mc Gregor; his sister, Christine Kerper of North Liberty; his brother, Mike (Anita) Kerper of Cottage Grove, Minn.; nieces and nephews; and great-nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Kathy, and his parents-in-law, Charles and Ruth Ann Gorsh. 

Tom fell asleep in Christ at age 66, in the ICU at Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., on July 29, 2023, the same day of his mother’s death in 1989, at the end of his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His body was donated to The Mayo Clinic’s Anatomy Program. 

Tom was a larger-than-life person and a loving and giving husband, brother, and friend, whose absence is profoundly felt. 

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the New Vienna Community Hall in New Vienna. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m., and the funeral service at 10:30 a.m. Following the service, a lunch will be held at the same location. 

A general memorial fund has been established. Part of the funds will be used to plant special trees at Pike’s Peak State Park in McGregor, Tom’s favorite place.

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