POLSON ~ Thomas Lance Lapke, 72, of Polson, Mt. passed away of a torn aorta on Thursday September 24, 2020. His funeral will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, September 29, 2020 in Ft. Shaw at St. Anne's, followed by a military burial with military honors in Sun River at the cemetery. A procession will go to the Lions Club in Simms for the reception. Tommy, as so many people called him was born to Lance Delano Hack and Pearl Marie Beauchman in Glasgow, Mt on May 19, 1948. Tommy graduated from Augusta High School, entered college at MSU Bozeman where he played football for MSU then decided to join the Army. He was a door gunner on a baby Huey during Viet Nam and was awarded several commendations and medals including the bronze star for valor when his helicopter was shot down twice, and his heroic actions saved the lives of American soldiers. Tom was a war hero but never wanted to be known for that as dealing with the loss of his fallen brothers was a constant struggle that Tom dealt with until the day he died. Serving his country was one of the most meaningful duties of his life that reflected his love for country and family.
Tom was a manager at Zales, a salesman, draftsman, carpenter and did architecture for Lindal Cedar Homes. As a salesman, he even opened a small drive up hot dog stand called Tommy's Dogs in Polson. A man of many talents and trades, he retired and moved to the Flathead area where he lived for 15 years and continued to make so many wonderful friends that considered him family. Tom enjoyed traveling, collecting art, painting, sailing, woodworking and cooking for others as he was an excellent cook. He loved his place in Polson with its view of the water and mountains. He would sit in his sitting area and just watch the birds, deer and clouds go by as his views of the Flathead River and the Mission Mountains brought him joy and relaxation. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, the VFW, and a little Shell Tribal member.
Tom was preceded in death by his father Lance; his stepdad Howard Lapke; his 2 uncles Robert and Frank Beauchman.
He is survived by his son Matthew (Brenna) Lapke of Belt, son Jake (Ciera) Lapke of Missoula; 2 grandchildren Faith and Macklyn; His partner/friend of 18 yrs Judith Yates of Whitefish; Mother Pearl Lapke; sister Vicki Lapke and brother Gordon (Kim) Lapke all of Simms and his ex-wife, Bonnie DeNoma. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews including Jade Lapke Askeland (Jon) of Belgrade, Cheyenne Lapke Anderson (Sam) of Lewistown, Ashley Lapke Pogany (Ron) of Belt, Kayla Lapke Boltz (Brandon) of Great Falls, Katie Lapke Dahl (Spencer) of Davis, California, and Bailee Lapke of Great Falls. Great nieces and nephews Kai, Kooper, Kellan, Madison and McKenzie, baby Drew and soon to be born baby Easton.
You will be missed as Tommy, Thomas, Son, brother and Father. We love you so much and are relieved that you are no longer in pain but resting in peace watching over us all with grace, humor and love.