Thomas W. Wanous, DVM - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

January 22, 1936 - October 17, 2020

Tom Wanous, 84, was born to William and Jane Wanous, farmer and teacher in Owatonna, Minnesota. Bob was born a few years later to make Tom a big brother. Tom's formal education began in a one-room schoolhouse for first through eighth grade. Tom went on to graduate from Owatonna High School by the age of sixteen. Tom left the farm and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. Tom's farm boy upbringing equipped him with skills to work his way through his veterinary education by milking campus cows. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in veterinary medicine, Tom joined the US Army and served as a Captain in France. While living in Paris, Tom met and married Bette who was living there with her parents. When Tom and Bette returned to the Twin Cities, Tom joined a veterinary practice which later became Woodlake Veterinary Hospital in Richfield, MN.

As a way to live out their Christian faith, Tom and Bette served at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. Supported by their home church, Hope Presbyterian, and accompanied by their five children, Tom and Bette headed to Nairobi in 1978. Tom provided veterinary and community development workshops in Kenya and surrounding East African countries, working with local churches. He also provided professional support and consultation to missionaries and Christian leaders working with Christian Veterinary Mission, Daystar University, and Literacy and Evangelism Fellowship so that people could better care for their families and livestock. Tom was actively involved with Daystar University and Christian Veterinary Mission well into his retirement years.

For two years, Tom taught biology at Iona Preparatory School and consulted with local farmers in Ocho Rios Jamaica. When Tom and Bette returned to Minnesota in the 1980s, Tom resumed veterinary practice with partners, Dr. Robert Dietl and later, Dr. Meg Glattly. In 2003, Tom was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He continued working as a veterinarian, traveling and teaching in East Africa and volunteering at Community Emergency Services, (CES) Food Shelf and Jericho Road Ministries in Minneapolis for years.

Tom is survived by his wife, Bette; his brother, Bob; his children Michael (Martha), Christine, Mark (Michelle), Sarah (Greg), and Bonnie (Brian); ten grandchildren, one great-grandson and one on the way. Many more dear ones have been enfolded in the hearts of Tom and Bette by God.

Private family service will be held. Livestream available at at 11:00 AM, Central Time, Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

For additional memories of Tom's work with Daystar please visit

Friends are invited to make a memorial gift to Daystar University (student scholarships) and Christian Veterinary Mission


  1. Den and Nan Nordstrum says:

    Your longing for Jesus is fulfilled this day. Blessed are we to know you. You have blessed our lives immeasurably.

  2. Silvia Sobalvarro says:

    Dear Christine,
    You and your family are in our prayers, may God comfort your hearts through this difficult and heartbreaking, yet glorious time for you and your family, may our God hold you close to him, and give you peace. We love you!

  3. Don Lipp and Chiara Wang says:

    Dear Mike, Martha and family,
    Our sincere condolences for your loss. You all are in our prayers. We love you!

    • JAMES O ONSERIO says:

      It was a privilege to have met Tom and Bette through my work as a nurse and I happened to work at same place with my wife who is also a nurse. Tom and Bette were so friendly and with their stay in Kenya made us connected more. Upon Tom discharge we stayed in touch till now. God comfort you and your family Bette and that resurrection morning you will meet your beloved husband. Asante sana Mungu awabariki

  4. Nathan says:

    Thanks be to God he made it home safe. Thanks to you family for sharing him with us

  5. Juanita Lindgren says:

    On behalf of Community Emergency Service and the staff, we extend our condolences to the family. Tom served at CES for many years and was an inspiration to many of the Love of God. He had such an awesome way with our neighbors at CES that several of them would come asking for Tom. He was so loving and caring to each one.

    He will be missed, but we joy in knowing he is with his Savior!

  6. Jim Allen says:

    My sincere condolences, Bette. Elaine died 9-28-2020, so I know the emptiness you`ve experienced, even though you know they are with the Lord, and we have Him to comfort us. Having grown up on a farm about 20 miles from Tom near Byron, MN, we enjoyed talking about Owatonna with Josten`s (maker of class rings) and the Daniel Gainey horse farm there. You had a good life together and after the painful recent memories recede, I`m sure those good times will sustain you. Our family`s love to yours. Jim

  7. DEBORAH s SWEENEY says:

    Sarah, sending love to you and all your family. What a wonderful life of compassionately supporting others your father led. His example lives on in you.

  8. Scott & Priscilla Dickson says:

    Our love and prayers go out to the Wanous family. Tom had a significant impact on our lives by modeling servant leadership, a commitment to advance the Gospel through his testimony and work, and his Godly wisdom. Additionally, Tom’s impact on the mission program at Hope Church was enormous. Through Tom’s faithful efforts, countless lives have been transformed. Well done good and faithful servant.

  9. Bob Dietl says:

    Wanous family,
    You are in our thoughts and prayers during this time. Bob Mary Ann Dietl

  10. Alan Cooke says:

    We were saddened to hear of the passing of our good friend, Tom Wanous. Tom was a blessing to so many, especially in Kenya and at Daystar University. Tom’s involvement with Daystar started back in the 80’s, which included leading missions teams from Hope Presbyterian Church, serving on the Daystar U.S. board, teaching classes on campus and even going out to the “bush” to share the gospel. His vocation as a veterinarian positioned him so that many of the pastoralist tribes would come to ask him questions about their animals (such as cows or goats) and then he would have the opportunity to share about new life in Christ.

    He and Bette also had a heart for refugees, especially those from South Sudan. They introduced me to many of these, including Reverend John Daau. Tom and Bette brought John (a former “lost boy”) to Daystar University and paid for his scholarship. They became his spiritual parents and mentored him as John went from feeling lost to having a vision to impact his country of South Sudan. John now runs a school in Juba that has around 400 students and hundreds of others are being impacted by his leadership and teaching. Many other stories could be told of Tom’s work in Africa – only in eternity will we know the full impact.

    I always felt welcome in Tom and Bette’s home (both in Minneapolis and Nairobi) and shared many meals with them. I miss you Tom, though I have joy in knowing you are healthy and free in the presence of our Lord. I have no doubt that you heard the words we all desire to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

    Our love and prayers are with Bette and the family.

    Alan Cooke

    Daystar U.S., Executive Director

  11. Juan says:

    We know how devastating is to lose a love one. It’s painful, it’s inexplicable, it’s the search for answers that may never happen!
    But, perhaps as time passes, it’s the remembrance of the moments, and the joy, and the struggles. Tom crossed my path in an instance of time and made me joyful. He’s gone in body, but he always be present in me. Time is forever, but experiences are just a flash of time kept FOREVER!

  12. Gary Andersen says:

    Bette and family, So sorry for your loss of Tom. I remember the first time I met Tom when I was just a kid on our family dairy farm only a mile down the road from where you lived at the time. After I told him I wanted to be a veterinarian, he took the time to discuss it with me at length and I was so impressed that he encouraged me so much then and at every visit he had to our farm after that. He had a big impact on me thru our profession and thru Christian Veterinary Mission. He was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Gary Andersen, DVM

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