2015 Minnesota Chapter of The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Outstanding American
Thomas Edward Caron passed away November 18, 2015 after a long and valiant fight against cancer. He was born on February 17, 1943 in Montgomery, Minnesota to Edwin J. Caron and Marjorie Stanford Caron. He was raised on a dairy farm in Northfield, Minnesota and graduated from Northfield High School as well as Winona State College with a Bachelor of Science degree. He taught Social Studies and coached wrestling in Mayville and Madison Wisconsin for four years.
He then joined Schwan’s Sales Enterprises, Inc. in Marshall, Minnesota where he enjoyed a varied and successful career in North America and Europe for over thirty years. His career involved the introduction of various retail products and services. One of his major accomplishments was the development and introduction of Red Baron Frozen Foods. Tom also was involved with his own businesses which included restaurants, building components, manufacturing, and real estate. He was the founder of Drayton Enterprises in Fargo, North Dakota.
Tom held numerous civic positions over his long career; JC’s member and president; Chamber of Commerce; SSU Foundation Director; Chairman of Free Enterprises; Minnesota Q/7 Commission member; Airport Commission member and Chairman; Hotel/Restaurant Advisory Committee; SSU Founder and Chairman and the University of Minnesota “M” Club President. He was a three-term President of the National Frozen Pizza Association; Director of the National Food Association and member/Director of the National Restaurant Association.
Tom enjoyed flying, pheasant hunting, fishing and was an avid follower and supporter of college wrestling. In April, 2015, Tom was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame as an Outstanding American, one of only eleven people from the State of Minnesota to receive such a high honor.
He had a love of geography, history and politics and his incredible mind and memory of these subjects never ceased to amaze his friends. He had a true joy of life, enjoyed traveling and was a devoted friend to all who knew him.
Tom retired to Bradenton, Florida in 1994 and became involved in real estate where he owned numerous investment properties through the years.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Marjorie, his infant brother John and his daughter Jennifer Dawn.
He is survived by his loving, devoted wife and best friend Ann, his daughter and son-in-law Carmon and Mark Watkins of Alexandria, Minnesota and two beautiful granddaughters, Natalie and Gretchen. He is also survived by his sisters Judy Hayes of California, Sally Jones of Montana as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, any donations can be made to the MNUSA Wrestling Club, c/o Bill Hinchley, 635 12th Street SE, Owatonna, MN 55060. MNUSA Wrestling is a non-profit organization, an affiliate of USA Wrestling, which serves the wrestling needs of athletes from as young as 5 years of age to older wrestlers who compete in the Olympics and World Championships.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at Calvary Lutheran Church located at 605 Douglas Street in Alexandria, Minnesota. The viewing will be from 11 AM to 1 PM followed by the funeral service. Interment will be at Kincaid Cemetery in Alexandria, Minnesota. A Celebration of Tom’s life will be held at Arrowwood Resort following the services.
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