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Friday, January 6, 2023
4:00 - 6:30pm (Central time)
Thomas Powell Garretson (“G”, “G Mon”, “Moon”, “Mot”, Papa) passed away Sunday, December 18, 2022.
His passing comes at the end of a three-year fight with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Phillips Garretson & Nancy Powell Garretson. He is survived by his wife and college sweetheart, Carole B. Garretson; his children, Tyler Garretson (Mary) & Evin Garretson; his grandkids, Abby, Caden, & Becker Garretson, and Murphy and Thomas Werner; and his siblings, Nancy Morr, David Garretson & Annie Garretson.
He was recognized as an exceptional lawyer in his areas of practice, spending most of his 50-plus years in the profession with the firm he and others founded, Triplett, Woolf & Garretson. He considered himself blessed to have the opportunity to work with all the attorneys and staff who put their heart and soul into the lasting success of that Firm.
He was an avid golfer both for the sport, and all that came with it. He was an addicted outdoorsman, chasing fish and fowl across places near and far. His love of both pursuits shared a commonality in his greater love of the friends he was able to share that time with along the way.
He will best be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother. His passing leaves an immense gap in our hearts and minds. We cannot express how much we appreciate the outpouring of love and support from all who were lucky enough to have known him.
Tight lines, G. Turn the music up. We love you.
No words written here will ever be enough to describe the man that he was. He was so much more. He was a wonderful combination of everything good. He was a man of his word and exuded grace, pride, and dignity. He was attentive to those around him and treated them with kindness and respect. He was a friend to all and never a foe.
In his younger years he chose to venture out to Concord, MA to attend Middlesex. He made sure to let us all know that the years that he spent there, shaped him into the man that he was. During his time there, he became one of the most decorated athletes in Middlesex history, being awarded 11 letters in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a two-time basketball captain and was football captain in his Senior year. Tom was named All-League multiple times in football and basketball. It was with great honor and pride that Tom became a member of the inaugural class of the Middlesex Hall of Fame at the School's Centennial Celebration in 2001.
He went on to attend college at Northwestern, where he played football and baseball, as well as being captain of baseball in 69. He was named all-Big Ten in football, played in the East-West Game, and was All Academic.
He made life-long friendships with his teammates, roommates, and his beloved soul mate, Carole. As fate would have it, he was carrying empty boxes (intentionally) through the girl's freshman dorm to see if by chance there happened to be any new cute girls on campus. Carole had just arrived and was checking in when he strolled by and stopped to ask if she needed help moving in. And...they lived happily ever after!
Tom graduated from Northwestern and was drafted by the Washington Redskins. He attended law school at The University of Kansas during the off season and ultimately retired his football career after a knee injury. Tom graduated from KU Law and headed back to his hometown roots. He started his career as a corporate lawyer with Martin Pringle and later hooked arms with associates to form what is now, Triplett, Woolf and Garretson to this day.
With Carole, Tyler and eventually Evin by his side, his loving family circle was complete. They enjoyed living down the street from Chick and Nancy Garretson (Tom's parents) and embracing family traditions as time went on. He had a passion for being involved with Tyler's athletics and was predominately on the sidelines as a coach, not a spectator. Tom followed in the footsteps of his father's love for golf and made the Wichita Country Club his home away from home. He had the honor of being the president for a year, yet the biggest honor was being a friend for a lifetime to all that accompanied him on the course.
in addition to enjoying playing golf, hunting, and fishing, Tom enjoyed gardening, photography, tying flies and making plans for his next big adventure that awaited him. Tom's love for the outdoors had no bounds. He was introduced to the hunting and fishing world through his dear friend, Ned Nixon, and from there, the never-ending abundance of fish and fowl pictures began.
Bass rods in the 70's and 80's gave way to fly rods in the 90's. Western streams shared time with salt water around the world accompanied by the endless stories that wreak of nostalgia - right up to his last (and best) trip that was finally shared with Tyler and Evin for seven days in the wilderness on the Smith River in Montana in the spring of 2019. Although it went unspoken, with certainty, there was a collective feeling that no one wanted to reach the take-out destination on that final day.
Tom had a way of conveying that tangible things were just stuff and that the really good stuff was in the memories that were made and in the experiences that were had by actually getting out there and doing stuff! He lived his life believing that each day was a gift and not a given. He took nothing for granted and always did for others, not assuming or expecting that there would be a return. His eyes and heart were wide open. Ready for the next opportunity to learn something new, cast a line, golf a ball, sit with a friend and talk or just taking time to reflect. He could turn anywhere that he was into a perfect dance floor and never passed up the opportunity to spin a loved one around or sing them a song with the most engaging smile, while exuding pure joy and contentment for where he was and with whom he was with. A story was recently shared where he was on a fishing trip with his friends and was asked how he could stay up so late each night and he profoundly said, "Because I am afraid that I will miss something." He never wanted to miss a minute of it all.
Tom had the most amazing way with words, whether it was telling a story or just having a conversation, most always he had a captive audience hanging on to his every word with his big deep voice and familiar laugh that was known by all that knew him. If he had drafted his own obituary, he would not have placed such an emphasis on his achievements. His life was not defined by his accomplishments or accolades but by the immense love he had for his family and dear friends and the moments and experiences that made him who he was. His grandkids could never get enough of him and recognized the most perfect gem of a Papa that they could ever hope for. Carole was unconditionally dedicated to being by his side and seeing him through, for better or for worse. Prior to his illness they spent wonderful times with their beloved friends and family and by just being together. They loved watching the Chiefs games together with their sweet dog, Molly, by their side. Although getting a puppy was somewhat daunting, the unconditional “furapy” that she provided and will continue to do so, was worth its weight in gold. Tom took comfort in knowing that Molly was going to be right by Carole's side, accompanied by family and friends that love her so dearly, as did he.
He once said, "The sun will surely rise again tomorrow." It was hard to believe that to be true after his sudden passing. It felt like the whole world should have stopped turning for Tom Garretson. But the sun surely rose again the next morning and he would not have had it any other way for his family and friends that he left behind. He would be honored if we all made room to carry a small part of him with us each and every day in our own special way. Like Jimmy Mac said, "He was a big tree with a lot of branches." So impactful to so many in so many different ways, he made the most out of each and every day. Even when he fell ill, he lived his best life that he could live and with, "no regrets. None.” What a gift.
We are smiling through our tears as we reflect on how much he loved life and the loved ones that were in it.
He had it figured out. He did it right. Maybe he even had the manual. If you know, you know…
Live like G.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established with:
Kansas Wildscape Foundation
Northwestern University Wildcat Fund
Kansas City Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation