Thomas Edward Maples was born Thomas Edward Moser in Yankton, South Dakota July 18, 1940, to parents Florence and Andrew Moser. In 1954, after Florence was divorced from Andrew and married Ralph Maples, Tom was adopted by Ralph.
Tom grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He attended Sioux Falls Public Schools and graduated from Washington High School. Tom attended South Dakota State University in Brooking thus ensuring a life-long passion for anything Jack Rabbit—GO JACKS! During summer vacations, Tom worked a variety of jobs, his favorite being with Raven Industries where he travelled to collect high altitude weather balloons. Tom graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Pharmacy degree Tom’s first job as a pharmacist was an intern at Mills Drug in Rapid City, South Dakota, and he received his pharmacy license the following year in 1963.
Tom met Beverly Cromwell who also worked at Mills Drug in the summer of 1962. Tom and Bev married in Draper, South Dakota in June of 1964, after which the couple moved to Vermillion, S.D. for the final year of Bev’s college at the University of South Dakota.
After Bev graduated, they moved to Rapid City, S.D. where Tom worked at Medical Center Pharmacy and the couple welcomed their first child, Monica, to the world in the spring of 1965.
After a short few years in Rapid City, the young family moved to Martin, S.D. where Tom worked for Martin Drug, then moving on to Mitchell, S.D. to join White Drug. In Mitchell, their second child Michael was born in 1968.
After five years of working at White Drug, the pharmacy burned down on Christmas night necessitating another move. At that time, Tom decided to transition from retail pharmacy to hospital pharmacy. He accepted a position in Whitesburg, K.Y. at the Appalachian Coal Miner’s Hospital. It was here that Tom had his brief and successful career as a bootlegger smuggling whisky half pints into the dry county for a local politician on election day. No one can remember if the half pints secured enough votes for the political victory.
After three years in Appalachia country, an opportunity arose for Tom to become part of the Veteran’s Administration hospital system in Saginaw, Michigan and the family moved from Kentucky to Michigan. Over two years in Michigan, Tom and the family enjoyed taking in Michigan, from the Ford Museum and Dearborn Village to the Upper Peninsula and the Soo Locks. Tom and Bev wanted to get back to South Dakota, and in 1977, Tom accepted another position with the VA in Sturgis, S.D. with the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital.
Tom and the family made their home in Sturgis for 37 years. Tom served on the City of Sturgis Park Board, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Board, Boulder Canyon Country Club Board and Northern Hills Credit Union Board. He was the score keeper for high school basketball games, and often made his dismay know to the referees regarding their eyesight.
Every Thursday, no matter the weather, he and his friends gathered at Boulder Canyon Country Club to play 18 holes of golf, have dinner and play gin rummy for hours. Tom loved to play cards. He and Bev were members of a Bridge League in Sturgis and Rapid City. Family get togethers always included card games.
Tom was also a huge sports fan – attending high school games and watching all Jackrabbits games and professional sports whenever possible. Tom and Bev, along with other Sturgis Alumni of SDSU often travelled back to Brookings or Sioux Falls for Jack Rabbit games.
Tom had a pool table and a bar in the basement of the house, which made it an attractive place for the kids and their friends. He was a very good pool shot and would often hang with the kids and shoot pool, thus earning the nickname “T Mapes” from Mike’s teenage cronies.
He retired from the VA Hospital in 2001 after 26 years of service. Not yet ready to quit working, he worked as a traveling pharmacist with Dakota Med Temps for the next 8 years.
In 2009, Tom had a stroke which made it difficult for him live in a multi-level home. Monica found them a single level house on a golf course at Hart Ranch, near Rapid City, S.D. He and Bev moved to Hart Ranch, where Tom loved living on the golf course. He enjoyed the course and really loved being able to watch golfers tee off for the 12th hole from his patio deck. For 11 years he and Bev lived at Hart Ranch, making many friends, playing cards and enjoying retirement.
In 2020, after another stroke and broken hip, Tom and Bev moved to Choteau, MT, to be closer to their son, Mike. Tom’s time in Montana was restricted to assisted living facilities and eventually was a resident at Teton Medical Center’s Nursing Home.
Tom had a long list of sayings he loved to use—“Tomisms”. One of his favorites, he would say “Let’s blow this popcorn stand.” Well Tom, you sure did.
Tom was preceded in death by his mother, Florence Maples, in 2008. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Maples (Choteau, MT), his son, Michael Maples (Choteau, MT), his daughter Monica (David) Dixon (Bethesda, MD), and his three grandchildren, Calvin Maples (Des Moines, IA) and Maddy and Mack Dixon (Bethesda, MD).
Memorial donations may be sent to SDSU for scholarship.
The Maples family is very grateful to the loving and professional team at Teton Medical Center.