Dear HTF readers and viewers,
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Tom Rukavina. Tom was known, loved and admired by many in and around his hometown of Virginia, across the Iron Range, throughout the State of Minnesota, and beyond.
Tom was a father of two, a grandfather of three, a brother and uncle, and the husband of HTF’s editor emeritus Jean Cole. He was also a high school classmate and long-time close friend of HTF owner Scott Asbach.
Our hearts break for Jean and all of those closest to Tom. His life was one of service to many and great love for his family.
In a press release issued by the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, the IMA joined others across the state in mourning the passing of former Minnesota State Representative and St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina.
Rukavina was a devoted champion of the people and area he served for more than 30 years, the press release said. He was a strong supporter of the iron mining industry and worked hard to protect and expand jobs for the Iron Range.
“Tom was a great legislator, historian, and friend, but above all else, he was a fierce advocate for our region,” said IMA President Kelsey Johnson. “We have lost a steadfast leader and passionate voice for Minnesota and the Iron Range. Tom will be greatly missed.”
Those few words sum up what so many are feeling: “Tom will be greatly missed.”
“Choose your adjective: fiery, passionate, compassionate, devoted, combative, witty, smart, abrasive, loyal, obsessive, vertically challenged, insane, legendary, wily, dedicated— they all work when describing Rep.
Tom Rukavina. He even refers to himself as ‘passionately insane’—the inevitable result of his Croatian-Italian ethnicity. One thing he is not, is forgettable.” –Jean Cole (Tom’s wife and long-time HTF editor in her Dec. 14, 2012,
HTF article “A common man with uncommon character”).
A special tribute in next week’s HTF
HTF will feature a special tribute to Tom in next week’s edition of Hometown Focus. If you have a story or remembrance to share, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit online at www.hometownfocus.us.
The submission deadline is Jan. 14. In the meantime, we share some favorite photos of Tom that have appeared in the pages of HTF through the years.