Thomas Leo Jaskolski was born on Dec. 13, 1935. Tiger is the name everyone knows him by. He grew up in Hayward, Wisc., the son of Leo and Johanna “Jenny” Jaskolski. He was the middle child of five children. As a young child, he loved tearing things apart and putting them back together, even grandma’s brand-new toaster. I was told he might have been a little bit of a hellion.
As a young man in the late 1950s he was in the Illinois National Guard and transferred to the Peace Corps. This was the beginning of his love for heavy equipment.
After his service he made his way to California while working for a trucking company. He met his wife-to-be, Melba, in 1963. They got married on Feb. 8, 1964.
The family started when Julie was born, then 13 months later, Tom arrived. In 1970, they had twins, Robert and Mike. Tiger’s love for hunting led him to meet an outfitting couple from Wyoming, Barb and Terry Pollard.
In 1974, he moved the family to a 3-acre ranch in San Jose. He had a trucking company, Milbrae Transfer, still worked for Matson Ship lines and had all the farm animals. He continued his hunting trips to Wyoming and after falling in love with Pinedale, they moved to Wyoming in 1979.
He was a good man. Firm but fair. I could tell you how he got the name Tiger, but that would be for him to tell. Many longtime friends know. Oh, how Mom wanted him to shave that damn beard. But I can’t imagine him without it.
After a fresh start in Wyoming and buying an auto parts store, Dad used his mechanical ability and knowledge to diversify his store and began selling and repairing agricultural implements. This made the store equitable. Work was always number one in Dad’s eyes. Dad became deeply involved in the community and was active in many different organizations, including the Lions Club, Pinedale Snow Explorers, American Legion, NRA, Sour Doughs, Elk Foundation and was a huge supporter of 4-H and the FFA programs. Haying was his passion that nobody could deny and keeping him out of the hay field! We were blessed to have a father like Tiger.
In 2011, Dad finally let go of the store and spent all of his time working his passion, rebuilding and repairing. During the summer, he continued his customized hay business. I remember hearing that old John Deere on Bob Harrower’s fields echoing through the dark from my house across town.
This same year the great-grandbabies started to come. Oh, how he adored them.
In 2015, after 54 years of marriage, we lost Mom. This was the first time that Dad realized mortality applied to everyone, because he lived life like there was no tomorrow. Everything had to be completed today, even if that means you work until 3 a.m.
Towards the end, Judy and Rob worked alongside him and allowed him to continue at the shop, even when his body was starting to fail him. He was content. When this winter weather became so harsh this year, he had to stay home. The idle time made him miss my mother more than ever before. He wanted to be remembered as a hardworking family man.
He died March 1, 2023, quickly and unexpectedly.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters, Mary Lou Clark, Florence Tripp (Myron), and Julianne Stasik (Richard); brother, Leo John Jaskolski (Ruth), brother-in-law, Thomas Clark, and nephew, Bob Hogstead.
He is survived by his children Julie Belton (Randy), Thomas Jaskolski, Robert Jaskolski, and Michael Jaskolski (Laurie); 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with two on the way.
Tiger’s funeral will be held on March 12, 2023, at 3 p.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Pinedale, followed by dinner at Rendezvous Pointe Senior Center starting at 4:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to Tiger’s passions: Rendezvous Pointe, Pinedale Lions Club, and Green River Cattleman’s Association.
There will be a celebration of life on July 7, 2023.