Thomas Morton Nellessen

Thomas Morton Nellessen our beloved Dad passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 6th at his Southern CA home he shared with his Daughter Vickie Lela, Son-n-law Moses Kingsbury, and Grandson Colton Powell. Thomas John his son and names sake, was also by his side, when he departed for the next life’s adventure.

Thomas was born September 2nd, 1940, in Evanston, Illinois, to Morton Edward Nellessen and Margaret Elizabeth Peterson.  A beloved Son, Brother, Father, Uncle, Grandfather & Great Grandfather, He loved life and lived it to the fullest. 

Thomas graduated from Grayslake High school, Class of 1959. Soon after, with his younger brother Jack, and six other friends, they jumped on a “Buddy Plane” to begin their new military life. Let the adventure begin.

Tom served his country in the U.S. Army in the 18th Airborne Corps The Sky Dragons stationed in Germany. As he put it “one of the dumb asses to voluntarily jump out of a perfectly good airplane.” 

After the Army Tom made sure to soak up life to the fullest.  He was the living example of “don’t sweat the small stuff.” From working with FG Hough/ International Harvester, to working the in the magnet business with his brother Jack and starting his own Magnet business, TENGAM. All while becoming the world’s best mastiff dog trainer for shows.  He showed his mastiffs with his late wife Lynn and daughter Amanda, all over the country.  He prided himself in his knowledge of using magnets for healing. Dad was about the adventure of life; he was well traveled across the country driving thousands of miles a year from place to place. He called many places home, including IL, AZ, CO, WA and CA. But his true home was Deer Park, WA.  He loved interacting with people, he loved helping people, most of all, he loved his family and friends.  His life of adventure created the stories he would enjoy telling anyone lending an ear, and repeatedly if you let him.  He learned many life skills and lessons that he would later share with his children, Grandchildren, and close friends.   He immersed himself into learning and living Native culture, was known to some as “The White Man with a Red Heart.” Without a doubt he will forever have a place in the hearts of the people he touched.

Toms larger than life spirit will forever live on through his loved ones.


Thomas John Nellessen (Therese), Suzanne Beth Lewis, Pamela Lynn Tina, Amanda Sue Wait (Tavis) and lastly Moses and Vickie Lela Kingsbury.


Colton, Alexandra (Lexxi), Gavin, Hannah, Logan, Jaxon, as well as two Great Grandsons and many Nieces and Nephews.


John (Jack) Nellessen (Sandy), Lois Peregrin (Gale), Margaret Scheibler, and Carol Behning.  

His sister Nancy Ellen Behning (preceded him in death)

Extended Family: 

Barbara Wise Family, Gavin & Lenee Monroe, the Davis Family, Kagi Taka Wakinyan Hoka, Tina, Diane Moses Family, and the countless others whose lives he touched.

“I give you this, one thought to keep.

I am with you still; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints in snow,

I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush,

of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone – I am with you still, in each new dawn.”

09/02/1940 – 11/06/2022

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