Cover photo for Thomas  C. Mans's Obituary
Thomas  C. Mans Profile Photo
1952 Thomas 2020

Thomas C. Mans

September 7, 1952 — December 16, 2020

Thomas C. Mans was born on September 7, 1952 in Riceville, IA to Reinhart and Pauline Mans, the youngest of three sons. Reiny was the Riceville depot agent and Tom grew up with the rail yards as the playground of his youth. He and his brothers hunted wild asparagus along the banks of the track near the depot and threw rocks from the car-bridge down into the Wapsipinicon River below. Tom knew as a child that he wanted to attend St John’s University, and graduated with a double major in political science and history (BA 1974). His great radio voice was part of the broadcasts from the college radio station KSJU, where he met another radio station volunteer, soon-to-be love of his life, Mary Kay Melcher. They married in 1975 in Buffalo, MN.

Always a social science enthusiast, Tom took his political science PhD at the University of Iowa (PhD 1981). He learned at U of IA and at his first job, Berea College, how to mentor students and possibly even more important, how to mentor new faculty. When he moved to Creighton, where Tom served as professor and college administrator for almost 17 years, he brought this knowledge and he pushed personal computers into the professors’ offices. His publishing list is short, but the list of people he mentored through his professional career is very long. He cherished this role.

A man of deep faith and intellectual curiosity, Tom spent his professional career as an educator and leader in Catholic education. Once Tom moved into college administration, Tom and Mary Kay and the family moved to a series of wonderful academic posts: St Vincent College in Latrobe PA, St Mary’s University in Winona MN, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in DC. At each place, he interacted with wonderful people who taught him countless things. For example, at SVdP he met Mr. Rogers as the college worked to institute the Rogers Center there.

Tom’s children were his joy. Jeremy was born while Tom was a 2nd year graduate student in Iowa City. Jesse and Janine joined the family in Berea. In 1981, the family moved to Omaha for the posting at Creighton. Rachel came when the family was ready to move into their home on Mercer Park Road. The family was complete. Eight years later, heartbreak of cancer caused Jesse’s death in 1996. Tom and Mary Kay took deep comfort and faith in the faith communities of Creighton, St Cecilia Parish, Duchesne, and Creighton Prep.

After job moves to SVdP, St Mary’s and ACCU, Tom knew in 2016 that his health was failing, and he and Mary Kay left their beloved Washington Nationals baseball team, and returned to Omaha where Jesse and friends waited.

In his personal life, Tom enjoyed a lifelong love of gardening and canning his special applesauce, as well as birdwatching, camping, and travelling. He loved adventure, whether to Lithuania where he was mugged by Russian toughs, or Mali where he visited his daughter on Peace Corps, or a month-long road trip through the Western United States with his daughters. He was quick with a turn of phrase, and well known among family members for his prodigious puns. He had a deep love of music, was prone to integrating Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes into daily conversation. Tom was an active member of his parish communities, a devoted parent, and loving husband.

Tom Mans died on December 16, 2020 of complications from acute myeloid leukemia. Tom is survived by his wife of forty-five years, Mary Kay, and their children Jeremy, Janine, and Rachel, and brothers Dennis and John. Thomas and Mary Kay’s son, Jesse, precedes him in death. He is remembered with love by six grandchildren, as well as many in-laws, relations and friends. He was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, where an immediate-family only Funeral will be held Monday, December 21st at 10:30 AM.

An in-person celebration of life is planned for late summer 2021.

The Funeral will be livestreamed on Monday at 10:30 A.M. and can be accessed at any time afterward at this link:

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St John’s University Collegeville, MN., Omaha Foodbank for the Heartlands, or Catholic Charities of Omaha’s Project Mercy.

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries and Crematory

1010 North 72 Street

Omaha, Nebraska 68114


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas C. Mans, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Private Family Service

Monday, December 21, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church

14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha, NE 68164


Click to watch

The Private Family Funeral will be livestreamed on Monday at 10:30 A.M. and can be accessed at any time afterward at this link:

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 31

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree