Tom Kolacny – husband, father, golf professional, builder, teacher, tinkering fixer of anything, and all around good guy – died on Saturday June 29, 2013. Growing up in Baldwin City Kansas with brother Sherman and sisters Betty, Pat, and Hallie Jane, Tom loved playing sports and keeping active year round. Aside from participating in organized football, basketball and track he once ice skated the sixteen miles to Lawrence Kansas on a cold day. Since big brother Sherman was a Marine in the pacific during WWII, he of course wanted to measure up and decided jumping out of airplanes was the way to go. While serving his time in the 82nd Airborne, he continued to pursue his education and love of sports wherever he was stationed. It was while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder that Tom helped a neighbor, Sharon Porta, get moved into a second story apartment. A 50 plus year love affair thus began. Most remember Tom building and running Grand Junction’s Tiara Rado golf course in the 1970’s and 80’s. As important as building the course out of nothing was to him, he treasured even more creating an environment that welcomed everyone. If a local teenager didn’t have the money, a discounted junior pass found its way into his pocket. During the down season, retirees with few alternative activities available played cards in the pro shop. Tournaments were organized to get everyone involved in golf – old & young, men & women, ace & hacker alike. Nothing gave him more professional pride than his junior golf program – which gave local kids a place to learn the discipline of golf, helped send dozens to college, and gave many of his protégé a career path and lifelong love of the game. Tom and Sharon migrated to Mesa Arizona in 1990 where he continued to work in golf until his retirement. Outside of golf, Tom was devoted to his family. He instilled in his children a lifelong love of learning and the courage to pursue the things they were passionate about – be it golf, music & art, or a family of their own. Tom is survived by his wife Sharon; his children Kristie, Karrie, and Tim; his Sister Hallie Jane; three grandchildren Kira, Paul, and Matilda; and two turtles. Those wishing to contribute something to the memory of Tom are encouraged to make a donation to their local junior golf association or Arizona’s Hospice of the Valley.
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