Thomas Rudesill Jr.

Tom was born to Imelda (Miller) and Thomas A. Rudesill Sr. He was born in a log cabin in Red Springs, and was delivered by his grandmother, who worked as a midwife. Tom was raised in Red Springs all his life. But, shortly before entering the service, Tom moved to Gresham. He graduated from Gresham School. Shortly after graduation, Tom entered the service. Being in the service gave Tom a chance to see the world. Tom traveled to Korea, Tokyo, Denver, Oakland, New York, and Washington. Tom remembers some of the sites he saw while in Tokyo like, Mount Fuji and the Imperial Palace. He recalls one such event when he found himself in New York City’s Times Square for New Years Eve. There was an estimated 800,000 people in attendance. "That was wild!" said Tom. Tom also remembers the sites of New York City. He remembers while touring the Empire State Building, he could only go to the 86th floor because they didn’t get there in time to get to the 106 floor. He also recalls going to the top of the Statue of Liberty’s head and viewing the city.


Tom left the service a couple years later, and then later was called back to duty, after a reserve call up. After returning from the service for a second time, Tom moved to Neenah and worked at a door factory for 8 years. He moved back to Red Springs, and got married to Myrna Leroy. Together, they had 10 children: 2 boys and 8 girls. When the children were very young, Tom’s wife passed away, so he had to assume both parental roles. Tom worked various jobs to support his family. He moved to Milwaukee for a year to work, and eventually came back and started working as a plumbing apprentice. He also worked with housing, and worked 16 years at Stier’s Hardware until they went out of business. Tom then settled down on a job as the custodian/maintenance person at the Stockbridge Clinic, and retired from there at the age of 62.


Today, Tom is retired and living in Red Springs. He has 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, with one more great-grandchild expected in June. Tom keeps himself busy by watching and taking care of his great grandkids, going to pow-wows, working on his grandkids homes. He also keeps himself busy by "taking care of the tribal administrators dog" as Tom says.


Tom is a member of the American Legion, Mohican Veterans, and the VFW. He is also proud that he was invited to the Gresham High School’s graduation in June. They have invited all those graduates back for a 50-year reunion during the 2003 commencement. It is more special for Tom because his granddaughter is graduating from Gresham High School. He is most proud of his family, and the successes that they have had.


Tom’s message for the younger generation is to value education and have a good work ethic.