Beloved teacher, Charles Thomas "Tom" Draper, age 87, of Jackson, passed way Wednesday, December 21, 2022, at the Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau.
He was born August 31, 1935, in Rochelle, Illinois the son of Arnold M. and Catherine M. McEachern Draper. He and Carol Ward were married in 1954 and on February 18, 1978 he married the love of his life Carol Dean.
In 1953, when Tom was in high school, he moved to Cape Girardeau with his parents. His mother had just accepted a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. Tom was quite an athlete in high school, playing basketball and track.
After high school, Tom attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and transferred to Southeast Missouri State University to graduate with a double major in theater and speech. After graduation he started his career, teaching speech and American History.
During this time, Tom pursued his master's degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Campus, and has an ABD in mass communication, history, and journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Tom taught at several universities in many states including Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado. He was an Emeritus Professor from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska.
Tom especially enjoyed fishing and jazz music.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Carol Draper of Jackson; two children, Laura (Dr. Edward Steven) Bolesta of Webster Groves, Missouri and Charles Thomas Draper, Jr. of Madison, Wisconsin; a granddaughter, Brigitte, and husband Dr. Jay Nelson; a great-granddaughter, Olivia Nelson.
To his family, Tom welcomed Carol's children, Kimberly Michelle Valsamis of Bellport, New York and John Stanfield and his wife Anya of Middleton, Massachusetts; four grandchildren, Waverley Stanfield and John B. Stanfield, Megan (Ralph) Swanson, Katlyn (Greg) Sevian; four great-grandchildren, Kaylee, Braydon, Athena, and Ryan; and her brother, Patrick Dean (Joyce Smith) of Cape Girardeau.
He was preceded in death by a grandson, Brandon Jones, his parents, and a step son-in-law, Adonis Valsamins.
A life celebration service will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 2:00 PM at Mount Moriah Baptist Church located at 200 Broadway Street Cape Girardeau Missouri, 63701.
Arrangements by McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.
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