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Thomas Simonsen

Thomas Simonsen, 83, of Belleview, Florida passed away on June 9, 2021 after a brief illness.  Graveside services with military honors took place on Saturday, May, 7, 2022 at the Kingsley Cemetery in Kingsley, Iowa.
The Johnson-Earnest Funeral Home in Kingsley assisted the family.  Expressions of sympathy may be directed to the family at
Tom was born in Kingsley, Iowa.  He was the treasured only child of George “Dewey” and Elma Simonsen.   Lovingly teased by his neighbors and classmates for being spoiled, Tom was a town favorite.  He starred in high school earning letters in baseball, football and track and field and participated in numerous clubs and organizations.  Tom worked his way through college and accepted a commission in the United States Air Force upon graduation from Arizona State University.
The son of an immigrant, Tom was drawn to military service out of a sense of patriotic duty and from a love of aviation he gained from his beloved uncle, Craig Isbell, an early aviation pioneer that worked in the fledgling airmail service with Charles Lindberg.
Highlights of Tom’s Air Force career include a tour during the Vietnam War in 1968 where he worked as a Weapons Controller onboard the EC-121 “Constellation” aircraft.  Later, he worked as an instructor at the Korean Military Academy and served in numerous roles in air defense, including under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, CO.  His proudest professional achievement was working on the development team for the E-3 AWACS, an aircraft that continues to facilitate air superiority for US, NATO and allied forces to this day.  Some of Tom’s decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.  Tom retired as a Major after 21 years of Service.
After his military career, Tom worked as a systems engineer for Norden Systems where, among other things, he helped develop radar system improvements for the Israeli Air Force F-4 Phantom II.  Tom moved to Florida and pursued a career in education with a focus in special education.  After a stint at Osceola Middle School, he rounded out his professional career teaching at adult and vocational schools.
Tom Simonsen was a friend to anyone that knew him.  He was honest, charming and caring.  He was active and youthful in appearance and seemed like the kind of person that would live forever.  He loved being outdoors, reading and watching movies.  He loved sports and a good laugh.  Most of all, he loved giving himself to his family when in need.  A beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Thomas James Simonsen is survived by his children Kim Simonsen, Scott Simonsen, Erica Wise, Brian Simonsen and Elizabeth Simonsen, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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