North Dakota EMS Foundation
Tom Nehring, 70, Bismarck, died Dec. 30, 2017, unexpectedly at home.
Thomas Robert Nehring was born in Bowbells on Sept. 3, 1947, to LaVern “Emil” and Inez Nehring. The second of seven children, Tom’s childhood was peppered with high jinks straight out of a "Little Rascals" episode. A standout football player at Bowbells High School, Tom went to Minot State on a football scholarship before volunteering for the U.S. Army. He spent two years in Army intelligence before being honorably discharged. Returning to the U.S., he moved to Washington state, marrying Mary Lou Berg, his first wife, with whom he had his first son, Troy. After returning to North Dakota, Tom attended the University of North Dakota while working full-time as an EMT. In Grand Forks, Tom met his second wife, Brenda Blazer with whom he had two sons, Paul and John. In 1984, he moved with his family to Bismarck, where he lived until his death.
Tom had a long career in healthcare with a wide variety of experiences in emergency medical services, hospital, and clinical administration. He was a driving force for the advancement of rural and emergency medicine in North Dakota. He helped found the North Dakota Medical Emergency Services Association, serving as its first president. He became one of the first nationally registered paramedics in the state – perhaps the job he most loved. Tom retired in 2017 as the director of the Division of Emergency Medical Systems within the North Dakota Department of Health.
Tom loved fishing, hunting, experimenting in the kitchen, and golfing with his sons. In his later years, he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren who all knew him lovingly as Papa Tom. Tom’s short stature was more than made up for by his outsized personality, entertaining family and friends with his jokes and stories (some more true than others).
Tom will be deeply missed by his children, Troy (Sarah), children, Cooper and Emily, all of Seattle, Paul (Julia Chapman), Jersey City, N.J., and John (Samantha Brockman), children, Mabel and Marshal, all of Bozeman, Mont.; siblings, Lawrence (LeeAnn) Nehring, Cynthia (Jim) Gallier, Randall (Debbie) Nehring, David (Jeri) Nehring, Rebecca (Lyndon) Nelson, Kathleen (Doug) Beard; his former spouse and caring friend, Brenda Blazer, Bismarck; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Emil and Inez Nehring, and former spouse Mary Lou Berg.