Thomas M. Lanning
September 21, 1935 – November 5, 2022
Thomas “Tom” Mathew Lanning Jr., 87, of Omaha, NE, passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 5, 2022.
VISITATION: Friday, November 18, 2022, 5:00PM, followed by a VIGIL at 7:00PM, at West Center Chapel.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Saturday, November 19, 2022, 10:30AM, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2207 Wirt Street, Omaha, NE 68110.
INTERMENT: Calvary Cemetery
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests memorial contributions to the CUES School System (Sacred Heart Catholic School) or Creighton Prep High School.
Tom was born September 21, 1935, in Omaha, Nebraska, where he lived for most of his life. Tom was the youngest of three children born to Mary (Bevins) and Thomas Lanning Sr. He was educated in the Catholic school system and attended Creighton Prep High School. Throughout his teen years, Tom worked for his father at one of several family-owned bars including Lanning’s Bar in Central Omaha (now operating as The Neighber’s) off Saddle Creek and Leavenworth Road.
At age 21, Tom met the love of his life, Dorothy Hoffman of Templeton, Iowa. They were married within a year of their first date on December 27, 1958. During their nearly 64 years of marriage, they created countless memories, built a family and lived a joyful life together.
In January 1960, Tom and Dorothy welcomed their first son, Michael Lanning. Ten years later, in 1970, they welcomed their second son, Patrick Lanning. Tom and Dorothy also had two children that died shortly after birth due to health issues, Thomas III (61’) and Mary Ellen (‘64) who are buried together in Calvary Cemetery.
Tom enlisted in the US Army in 1958, but spent most of his career in the confection business as a Regional District Sales Manager at M&M Mars where he led a team for nearly 20 years. In the late 1980’s, Tom and Dorothy moved to Kansas City and purchased a Vic’s Corn Popper, which they owned and operated in the Town Pavilion Center for 15 years.
In 2001, Tom and Dorothy moved back to Omaha. As Dorothy continued to teach first grade at Sacred Heart Catholic School, Tom was restless and decided to get back to work after just two weeks into his second retirement. He was hired to drive the shuttle for Creighton University’s athletic teams and students and did this until he retired for the last and final time at age 83.
Tom was a lifelong family man, a proud Irishman, and a devout Catholic. He loved telling stories and making people (and himself) laugh. His smile was contagious and his laugh could be heard from miles away. The memory of his kindness will be cherished by all who knew him. Tom never knew a stranger and made friends everywhere he went, including on his daily errands.
Throughout his life he spent weekends and most summers at the family cabin in Perham, Minnesota on Little Pine Lake. He and Dorothy enjoyed traveling together with family and friends and often told stories of their adventures abroad in England, Ireland and their recent cruise on the Rhine River. Being the family man that he was, Tom and Dorothy spent a lot of time with their children and grandchildren in Kansas City. During their 64 years of marriage, Tom and Dorothy served as role models to many and claimed their secret to a long and happy marriage was endurance, faith and having a good sense of humor. They were truly lifelong partners and lived for early morning coffee chats, McDonalds breakfast, watching sports (Kansas City Chiefs, Nebraska and Creighton University). Together they enjoyed dancing and listening to live Jazz music anywhere they could find it.
Friendship and family were the two most important things to Tom. These foundational values were passed along to his children and grandchildren (who absolutely adored him). His humor, optimism and joyful demeanor never left him (living up to his nickname of “Little Guy” and “Tiny Tom”), even after battling health issues for many years.
He was preceded in death by his parents Thomas Sr. and Mary Lanning; two siblings, Mary Margaret (Lanning) Wiles and Ed Lanning; two brother-in-laws, Robert (Rob) Hoffman and James (Jim) Hoffman. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Jean Lanning; sister-in-law, Charlotte Hoffman; sons, Michael (Kristin) Lanning, Shawnee, KS and Patrick Lanning, Kansas City, MO; as well as two grandchildren, Alex Lanning Byarlay (Nate Byarlay) and Jack Lanning along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Tom made his grand entrance to the world on the dining room table in his family home. His birth certificate reads “Baby Lanning” to this day (or so we were told). We all know how he liked to tell stories. He spent his final day doing what he loved most: shopping, telling stories, making people laugh, watching the Huskers, and visiting with his wife Dorothy. His grand exit came the same as his entrance, in the comfort of his own home. Until we meet again, we will cherish his memory and hilarious laugh for a lifetime.
Finally, the family asks that in honor of Tom that you enjoy a cold Root Beer, always keep candy (preferably M&M Mars brand) in the house, use fresh ground coffee every morning, and make sure to get out and vote!