ROCK-INGEBRAND FUNERAL HOME – BRAHAM
Thomas Belland, of Braham, passed away on Thursday, December 29, 2016 at his home. He was 81 years old.
FUNERAL SERVICE will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, January 6, 2017 at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Braham.
VISITATION will be held from 4:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, January 5th with a 7:00 pm Prayer Service followed by the Rosary and 1 hour prior to the service on Friday, ALL AT THE CHURCH.
INTERMENT will be in Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Cemetery in Braham.
Thomas “Tom” Alfred Belland of Braham passed away at home on December 29, 2016 surrounded by several of his loved ones. He was 81 years old.
Tom was born on March 20, 1935 in Little Canada, Minnesota to Edmund and Elizabeth (Bibeau) Belland. He was the last of 9 children and the 2nd boy in the family. They were French Canadian and only spoke French at home. The Belland family business was truck gardening. They sold produce at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market and had a contract with Gedney. Most of this work was done by hand and with a team of horses. In fact, they were one of the last houses to install electricity in their neighborhood.
Thomas met his future bride, Cecelia Ufkes at a fireman’s ball in Little Canada. She was a stunning redhead. They each left that evening telling their family they’d met their future spouse. In 1962, they were married at St. John’s Catholic Church in Little Canada. After they wed, they lived in a two bedroom house in Vadnais Heights for 6 years and realized they’d outgrown this little house when they were expecting their 5th child.
They moved out of the city, north to Braham, Minnesota in 1968. In the early years, Tom continued working at Twin City Arsenal in Arden Hills while farming. He decided to dedicate his life to farming after a near miss with an oncoming train. Tom had fallen asleep at the tracks. Thankfully he woke up in time to miss the train and his son Joe made it to school safely. Farming was good and the family continued to grow to 4 girls and 9 boys, yes 13 kids in total.
There were a couple of things that Tom loved: his wife, his 1964 Pontiac Catalina and seeing things flourish. Hard work made him feel useful. He was fiercely proud and family focused. He loved nature, summer heat and wildflowers in the pasture. Watching him work the fields was a dance unto itself. He said many times “I love to farm”. He took pleasure in simple things: a straight fence, a new crop, newborn calves, the first tomato and ear of corn from the garden, auctions, horses, good whiskey and playing cards.
He would come in from the field for lunch, hold and feed the newest baby so mom would have a little break. Much to her delight, he’d bring her wild roses, tiger lilies or a collection of smaller flowers in his snuff box. Sadly, when mom passed away last year, some of his fire was gone. He’s reunited with his wife of 53 years and many family members who preceded him. He will not be lonely, but will be missed greatly by those he left behind. Until we meet again, much love to you
Thomas is preceded in death by his parents Edmund and Elizabeth Belland; wife, Cecelia; grandson Micheal Belland; sisters, Josephine Thissen, Clara Miron, Marie Riopel, Sr. Francoise Belland, Sr. Mary Ann Belland, Louise Schueller; and brother Isidore; as well as their spouses.
He is survived by his children, Gregory (Debbie), Joseph (Tamara), Michelle (Brian) Oquist, Elizabeth (Jeff) Aldrich, Thomas (Krisanda Corelli), Jacque, Jacquelynne (Richard) Nordstrom, Michael (Michelle), Colleen (Patrick) Baker, Peter (Brenda), Paul (Kathy), Stephen (Krissy), and Edmund (Marissa); 26 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren; sister Jean Margaret O.S.F; many other relatives and friends.