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Thomas H. Dahlfors, 78

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Thomas H. Dahlfors, age 78, passed peacefully on Friday, March 4, 2022, with his wife, Brenda, and daughter, Meriden “Denni,” at his side.He was born in Meriden, Conn., to Harry and Lucille and his big sister, Judi. He was raised in Williams Bay, Wis. and moved to Itasca, Ill., in the fourth grade. He received his B.S., M.S. and doctoral degrees in education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.Tom loved to travel and often told stories of spending time in the Bahamas working with teachers and learning to dive for conch. A family friend once sent him to New York with a letter of introduction to Norman Cousins, editor of the New York Post. While waiting in the outer office, he was dumbstruck to see the office door open, and Fidel Castro exit. On the same trip, he was introduced to Broadway and saw greats such as Zero Mostel and Carol Channing.Tom spent most of his career in Elgin School District U-46; he was principal at Columbia Elementary, director of The Model School Project in the early 1970s, and principal at Central/Canton Jr. High, Streamwood High, and Lowrie and Century Oaks elementary schools. He made some of his best and longest friendships there.He married the last love of his life, Brenda, in 1987. They enjoyed traveling together, and their favorite trip was an African safari for their honeymoon. Their daughter, Meriden, was born in 1991. The three of them shared Tom’s love of travel and musical theater; they visited New York, England, Ireland, and a favorite spot, Caneel Bay in St. John, USVI, on several occasions. Another favorite was visiting friends, family, and the Cubs during spring training, in Arizona.After retiring from U-46 in 2000, Tom took on part-time jobs at the Woodstock Post Office, an apple orchard, and George Williams’ golf course. He also became a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and loved any excuse to spend time outdoors. Tom and Brenda owned a “gentleman’s farm” in Woodstock, and Tom was excited to once more have horses, chickens, turkeys, and guinea hens. He also enjoyed his Great Danes, swimming pool, motorcycles, Scotch, and collection of antique MG cars. He loved nothing more than giving a tour of the property, which he often did when hosting picnics for the Master Gardeners and cast parties for his daughter. Most recently, Tom was frequently found at Farm and Fleet in his trademark overalls, ratty Carhartt jacket, and wool cap, buying birdseed and peanuts to feed the wild birds and chipmunks.He is survived by his wife, Brenda; his daughter, Meriden “Denni” (Justin Drum); his son, Thomas (Tanya) Ober; sister, Judith Nelson; his niece, nephews, godchildren, and too many friends to name individually but whom he loved whole heartedly.In lieu of a service, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

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