Farming Rural 12

Louis Tholen

February 8, 2022


Louis A. Tholen 12-28-1930 to 2-8-2022

In the wee hours of February 8, 2022 Heaven gained a very devoted angel. He was 91 years old. Louis "Louie" Tholen was born on December 28, 1930 in Oakley, Kansas to Anton Herman Tholen and Anna Marie (Muehlenkamp) Tholen. He was one of eight children. His sister, Gertrude Brown, the only surviving sibling, just turned 100 years old. His parents and his son-in-law Rio DeGennaro also preceded him in death.

Louie spent much of his childhood in a one room schoolhouse in Oakley, Kansas where children were taught from 1st- 8th grade. He then attended 9th grade in Windhorst, Kansas. When Louie was a small child during the Great Dust Bowl, he remembered gathering tumbleweeds with his brother so they could pour molasses on them to feed the cows to keep them alive.

 Louie served his country in the Korean War from 1952-1953. While in the Army, he made a lifelong friend named Leroy. He cherished that friendship.

After his time in the military, Louie married the love of his life, Delmonta Bartell. They were married in 1957 and remained married until his death. They had four children together. He was thankful that the fourth one was a boy. That boy would purchase his final business venture (Farm & Industrial Service Co. Inc.) from him in 1996.

In Louie's lifetime he lived in Oakley, Kansas, moving to Klamath Falls, Oregon in 1970 and finally Baker City, Oregon in 1972 where he and Del found the community to be a perfect fit for them. In each place he called home, he contributed markedly to his church, family, and community.

 As a young man Louie owned Tholen Farm Supply in Oakley, Kansas from 1957-1968. He decided the family needed a change and moved his family to Oregon. He worked for Pelican Tractor and later for the Ford and Hesston dealership, both in Klamath Falls. Louie started to get calls from other dealerships telling him to bring his tools and he would have a job. His reputation as a valuable and knowledgeable mechanic was well known. Howard and Harold Britton were two of the many people who contacted him regarding his skills. After some discussion, he was invited to come to Baker City the following weekend to see if their company would be a good fit. Louie and Del liked the area, the people, and the idea of working for Britton Equipment Company. He worked for them for three years. In 1975 Louie opened LT Welding and Repair and closed it in 1981. He had started talking to Nels Christensen, a fellow Sumpter Valley Railroad volunteer, about a partnership in a business venture. The name Farm and Industrial Service Co. Inc. was chosen and came to fruition in March of 1983. The three years they worked together ended in mutual agreement. Louie liked running a shop business where he fixed everything from Granny's frying pan to a manure spreader.

While Louie recognized his blessed existence, he also acknowledged the personal responsibility he needed to take to address a developing drinking problem. His drinking problem lasted about three years. He spent 30 days in an inpatient treatment center, and then never drank again. He just missed having his 53rd year AA birthday in March of this year. Louie had been a member of AA for all of those years and worked to practice the philosophy and 12-step program to the best of his ability. This contributed to a life of serenity, contentment, and happiness.

 Adding to Louie's contentment were the hobbies he enjoyed in his downtime. He loved watching NASCAR racing and other sports, shooting and hunting, and his favorite pastime restoring tractors, vehicles and small engines. He was always willing to share his passion by answering questions, giving advice or telling a good story.

 Louie leaves behind his wife whom he shared his life with for 64 years, Delmonta Tholen, daughters, Donna (Ray) Bonneville, Carol DeGennaro, Twila (Dave) Pivnick, Donald (Cheryl) Tholen, many grandchildren and great grandchildren who will all miss him dearly.

 In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider donating to the Building Maintenance Fund for St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, PO Box 543, Halfway, Oregon 97834.

 A memorial service will be held April 30, 2022 at 10:00 A.M. at the St Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City. There will be a gathering for friends and family in the church hall after the service. Online condolences can be shared at


Memorial Mass
April 30, 2022

10:00 AM
St. Francis de Sales Catholic church

Baker City, Oregon 97814

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