In Memory


 The “Round Mound of Sound” is silent. Tom Peck, “Gramps,” passed away peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 10, 2011, in Mesa, Ariz., at the age of 78.

He was born Aug. 14, 1933, in Columbia Falls to Asa and Pearl Peck, being the 13th of 14 children ... no twins. The only surviving siblings are Helen Haugan and Jacie Ressler.

Tom graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 1951. He joined the Navy shortly after, and then married Arlis Sather in 1953. To them was born a daughter, Michelle. Arlis passed away in 1955 of leukemia.

While attending Northern Montana College, where he earned a degree in education, he met Delores Mangold and they were united in marriage in 1956. They were blessed with four more children, Starla, Patty, Yvonne and Thom.

Gramps taught social studies and coached in Opheim, Hingham and Sunburst from 1959 to 1972. After 1972, he continued to work with young people in Browning until 1976. From then until his retirement in 1990, he was employed at the Columbia Falls aluminum plant.

Tom and Delores have resided in the Flathead Valley from 1976 to the present and also have enjoyed their “snowbird” life in Mesa.

Throughout his years, Tom made great friends and literally thousands of acquaintances, both young and old. Tom never met a stranger, always enjoyed a lively discussion and loved to laugh with others. People always knew Tom was in the room and usually experienced his face-to-face conversations with noses about six inches apart.

Attending numerous sporting events throughout the state supporting the youth of Montana year after year was one of his favorite pastimes.

Tom is survived by his wife and best friend, Delores, and each of his children who were all educators, starting their careers in Montana. He cherished his grandchildren and was so proud of them. Those grandchildren are Jamie and Chad, Tyler and Sienna, and Scot and Chelsea, who are the children of Starla and Monte Solberg; Conor and Kaitlyn, children of Patty and Scott Daugharty; and Taylor and Kylie Peck, daughters of Thom Peck and Dee Kirk. His great-grandchildren who brought him so much joy are Taylor and Lola Nordhagen, children of Jamie and Chad Nordhagen, and Emma and Shayla Solberg, children of Scot and Chelsea Solberg.

Although Tom is now silent, his joy of life, caring for others and big personality will be carried on. His warm and loving extended family, of whom he was so proud, is committed to honoring him in the way they live their lives and by keeping lasting memories of Gramps in their hearts.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at  St. Richard’s Catholic Church in Columbia Falls. A luncheon will follow at the church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Wildcat Endowment Association, or the charity of your choice.

Columbia Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.


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11/15/11 10:06 AM #1    

Larry Miner (1973)

Next week, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Most countries and cultures have a special day set aside to give thanks for our many blessings and for life and acquaintenances.   Eventhough I wasn't sure at the time, later in my life I knew I was a better person due to a relationship with Tom.  I am thankful for having known Tom Peck.

Tom was more than my my high school coach. Starla';s dad. As I became a little more mature  I realized that Tom was a good and fair man and was a great provider for his family..and all that entails. Things were seemingly pretty black and white to Tom which is also a trait I've come to respect over the years.

In high school we ran a football play called "The Peck Special".  A play where the quarterback pitches to his running back who in turn throws it back to the quarterback who has become a receiver.  Tricky!  It worked for us! To this day, whenever I see that play run...I refer to it as the Peck Special. Tom is probably dialing that play up right now for the team he's coaching.

One time while coaching at Sunburst, Tom while getting caught up in the action of a hotly contested basketball game in Shelby, became quite animated in front of the bench and accidentally tossed his tie onto the basketball court. (clip-on I guess) As I recall, before the next Refiner game, Gene Schilling awarded Tom with another tie the next night.  It was a good laugh for everyone. Tom was a good sport. 

My uncle would run into Tom once in a while in Whitefish and Tom would talk about the love of his life, Delores and family...and sports.  I always thought I'd run into Tom somewhere and I'd have had the opportunity to toss back a cold one and talk sports. Maybe someday I will.

My thought and prayers are with his family.

Larry Miner



11/15/11 10:54 AM #2    

Art Taft (1966)

Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til its gone.    We all enjoyed and made fun of his pronuciation of Vietnam, and had many a laugh at his expense, but I think we also knew if you needed a teacher on your side when it counted, Tom would be the guy.  Go team!



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