Memorial services for Tom Tobin were held on Friday, January 3, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. at the Winner United Methodist Church in Winner, SD. A private family burial will be held at a later date. Mason Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Tommy Drake Tobin was born on November 8, 1945 in Norman, OK, to Milton and Era (Moran) Tobin. The family moved to Chicago for Milton’s optometry education after WWII. When Era became ill with Polio, Tom was sent to live with his grandparents for a time on their farm outside of Ethan, SD. Upon Milton’s graduation, the family settled in Winner, SD, where Dr. Tobin started his practice. They made Winner their lifelong home with their two sons, Tom and Gregg.
Growing up, Tom spent a significant amount of time hunting and fishing. Tom graduated from Winner High School in 1963. He attended the University of South Dakota, where he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity. During college, Tom developed a love of travel which continued throughout his life. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968 and a Master of Arts degree in 1970. He was accepted to medical school, but instead decided to pursue a degree in law. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 1973 from the University of South Dakota. During graduate school, he met Judy Larsgaard. They married on November 28, 1970 and moved to Winner upon Tom’s graduation from law school. Tom and Judy had five children and raised them in Winner, where Tom started his law practice.
Tom became a renowned, respected and sought-after expert on Federal-Tribal Treaty law and was called on by states and counties throughout the nation that faced State-Indian jurisdiction issues. Highlights in his legal career included arguing two cases before the United States Supreme Court. Cases of significance were DeCoteau v. District Court and Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip. These cases involved the reservation status of Roberts, Gregory, Tripp, and Mellette Counties in South Dakota. Subsequently, he was involved in Solem v. Bartlett involving the boundaries of the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Indian Reservations in South Dakota, Cook v. Parkinson, involving the reservation status of Bennett County, and many other jurisdiction cases in South Dakota and across the western United States. Tom served as Tripp County States Attorney, on various committees of the State Bar Association and national boards. Tom was a lifelong member of the Republican party and held various positions in the local Republican party.
Tom had a great curiosity and interest in history, especially all things related to South Dakota. To date, he was the longest standing member of the South Dakota State Historical Society Board. He was also a member of the Western South Dakota Buckaroos. Tom led the effort to help the Buckaroos preserve the history of “The Round Up of 1902” by republishing the book Roundup Years.
Tom loved Tripp County and took his children hunting and fishing. The annual deer hunts in the White River hills were full of Jeep chases, chili camp outs, and memorable mishaps with friends and their children. His best friends and acquaintances from across the United States looked forward to the annual “Tobin Pheasant Hunt.” The most important Tobin tradition was riding horses and wagons in the annual Winner Labor Parade. He prided himself on continuing this four-generation tradition started by his father.
Tom was always a gambling man, whether it was a poker game with friends, last minute trips to the horse races in Omaha, making racehorse purchases as an adult or placing the family Triple Crown race bets.
Tom was a gentleman rancher and loved spending his spare time working with cows and horses.
After the passing of Judy in 2016, Tom found his faith and was baptized in 2016.
Tom was a collector of historical artifacts and antiques, in fact, he was a collector of all things he could find on a “good sale”, regardless of need. He enjoyed cleaning his saddles, boots and refinishing furniture, a hobby he instilled in his youngest son, Travis.
Tom Tobin, 74, of Winner, SD passed away on Friday, December 27, 2019.
He is survived by his sons Brian (wife Christine, children Christian, Victoria, Sophia, Gabriella and Samuel), Justin, Tyler (wife Dannette, children Ava and Charles), Travis (wife Erin, children Augustus and Anna), daughter Tara Arnold (husband Ryan, children Amelia, Scarlett and Eleanor) and many family members and friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Milton and Era Tobin, his brother Dr. Gregg Tobin, his wife Judy and his best friends.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a donation to the South Dakota Historical Society.