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The Farmers in the Dell

RSS By: Shannon Dell, Legacy Project

The Dell family of Maryland is sharing their succession story with the readers of Farm Journal as part of the Farm Journal Legacy Project.

Tribute to Tommy

Mar 10, 2011

What do we do now? This world will never be the same w/o Tommy Dell. We will miss his special smile, his tender hugs, the way he walked, the way he talked, and most of all his love that embraced us all. I stand up here and I know you all think I’m crazy but Tommy and I lived in the moment with no regrets and if I didn’t say something today of all days then I would regret it, not to mention he say I always have something to say any other time why in the world wouldn’t I speak today. 

What we had worked. I let him be him and he let me be me. We loved deeply and lived life to the fullest. We always said it didn’t matter how much money we had because we were rich with love. We were always adventurous because our motto was "you only live once". We have been to Florida, Georgia & North Carolina numerous times, we also visited Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, California, Hawaii, Texas twice, Virginia, West Virginia, & St. Lucia. If traffic ever got in our way we took the beaten path.   We picked up some more friends during our journey.
From the moment we danced at Larry & Angie Haines’ wedding our life has been an adventure. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Tommy would tell me: "Cowgirls don’t cry." We lost our first daughter, Jolie,  as we started our life, but we picked up the pieces and moved on. Our life together became quite a love story set to the sound of country music. There were happy songs and sad songs. They set the tone of our life. We danced along the way. Sometimes in the kitchen, maybe in the rain, even in the basement and at every chance. We never got off the phone without an I love you. There were hugs and kisses when the day started and when it ended. I’m sure anyone would agree Tommy gave the most warming hugs. 
He truly cared about anyone who crossed his path. Sometimes I just wanted to put him in a bubble for just me. He could relate to the very young to the very old. He was just a sweet soul. His family always said he was on "Tommy Time." He didn’t care what time it was especially if he was talking with a friend. His cell phone has never been so quiet. We were usually late to everything, but once we got somewhere we were usually the last to leave. I can’t believe you chose this event to be early for! 
He wasn’t much of a handy person around the house, but he sure could grow some corn. He loved his farm. He enjoyed any ag related technology, researching new ideas, and always open to new possibilities. 
His proudest days were the births of Grady and Josie. He was the best Dad--always so patient but stern. He wanted them to grow to love the farm. That didn’t take long. When he was done work he would put all else aside to spend time with his kids. He helped coach football and wrestling with Grady and loved to watch Jo Jo do gymnastics. He was so excited to begin 4-H with the kids. Tommy loved taking the kids out on the 4-wheelers, going fishing, and looking at the cattle. We always would enjoy asking them at the end of the day "what was your best part of today?" because we wanted them to see the fun in every day. The kids and our dog, Sadie, always looked forward to a ride in the tractor or Mack truck with Daddy. Sometimes in the spring, we would all go in the tractor to watch Tommy plant. We enjoyed going to find new baby calves in the pasture. He just loved life. 
Tommy loved the duckblind talks, turkey hunts, Colts football, a Saturday afternoon of college football, fishing, Ranger rides, and just spending time with any friends or family.
After Tommy came into my life I learned to wear cowboy boots; listen to country music; raise animals; grow things; like football;  pay attention to the price of corn;  make a good pitcher of sweet tea; what a herbicide is;  the difference between hay and straw and bull and steer; cuts of a steer; who the Hefty Brothers are… The list goes on and on. He always said "I taught you well." He was my best friend and my partner in life and in work. I told him I’d help him do whatever and go wherever.
What do we do now? Tommy would say:  "get over it". "It will all work out." Somehow I have to believe that. I know he is thinking "wow what a ride". Don’t be afraid to talk about him and share his stories, he had good ones. He would want us to celebrate his life. Tommy made time for anybody, so I think he would want us to make time for our relationships over and above everything else. 
I love you Tommy Dell! We will all miss you more than words can express. Thanks for coming into my life. I’m so very proud of you!
"Life ain’t always beautiful, but it sure was a beautiful ride!"


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