Tom entered the world in Chicago, Illinois, born to Tom Sr. and Ruby Neton. Tom Sr. was a native Chicagoan. Ruby hailed from a small town called Walnut Ridge Arkansas. These different backgrounds molded Tom into very much a city boy from Chicago, with a southern flair. One distant root included Cherokee Indian. Tom grew up in Lindenhurst Illinois attending Prince of Peace Catholic grade school. He continued his Catholic education attending Carmel High School for Boys and finishing at Marquette University, a Jesuit University in Milwaukee Wisconsin. As a grade schooler Tom was chatty, open and active. It was the first indicator of the...
Tom entered the world in Chicago, Illinois, born to Tom Sr. and Ruby Neton. Tom Sr. was a native Chicagoan. Ruby hailed from a small town called Walnut Ridge Arkansas. These different backgrounds molded Tom into very much a city boy from Chicago, with a southern flair. One distant root included Cherokee Indian.
Tom grew up in Lindenhurst Illinois attending Prince of Peace Catholic grade school. He continued his Catholic education attending Carmel High School for Boys and finishing at Marquette University, a Jesuit University in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
As a grade schooler Tom was chatty, open and active. It was the first indicator of the talkative boy that would become the friendliest man on earth. It strongly contributed to a successful sales career later in life and led to leadership roles in various professional organizations.
Tom was never shy. When his father was lecturing at mass one day, 4 year old Tom jumped up in his seat and yelled out, "Look, my dad is a priest". Not shy and never was. High school brought his extroverted self to the stage landing lead roles in "Scrooge" and "My Fair Lady." To this day he would tell anyone who would listen about his role as Henry Higgins and his shining moment when he sang "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face."
Prior to Tom's birth, a sister Diana was born but sadly passed away at 6 months old. Tom understandably held center stage within his family until one day, five years later and two days before his own birthday, a baby brother Tim was born. Told by his parents he would now have a playmate, Tom's anticipation grew until he realized he had to sacrifice his own five year old birthday party to make room for Tim. And since Tim was a baby, he really did not serve as a playmate at all. He couldn't even talk.
Tom was a Cub Scout, a paper boy and worked at Dad's company, Illinois Bending, as he grew older. His high school sweetheart was a cherry red Camaro. Tom loved cars and continued to have other such romances through the years.
At Marquette University, Tom majored in Journalism and Advertising. He served as the President of the Journalism Club, and occasionally would get into some difficulty when authoring a controversial article in the Marquette Tribune. While at school, he held advertising internship positions at the Milwaukee Journal and the Miami Herald Newspapers.
Harboring a firm dislike for the bitter winters of the Midwest, the day after graduation in 1982 he packed up his car and headed cross country to the warmth of California and a job at the Palm Springs Desert Sun. This was the first of several jobs at different, small newspapers in the Desert Sun Group. Racing around on a motorcycle, no less, much to mother Ruby's horror.
In 1985, Tom was hired by the LA Times and spent a full 24 year career, continuing to lead, eventually rising to the rank of Director of Automotive Advertising. No small task at a 1.5 million reader circulation paper back then. It was at the lA Times he met his wife Mary Ellen in 1989. They were married in 1992. While Mary Ellen grew up in Milwaukee just two hours away from Tom's hometown in Illinois and coincidentally attended Marquette during the same years as Tom, they did not meet until the Times. Mother Ruby always said he had to move out to California to find a good Midwest girl. Tom continued his education earning a MBA from Pepperdine University in 1995.
Then in December, 1998, his son John Thomas (Jack) Neton was born. Jack became the center of Tom's world. Jack received the benefits of having a father who gave his all to make sure that he, Jack, would have the best start possible in his new world. Jack received top honors throughout his years at St. Joseph Elementary School and continues this success in the Long Beach Poly High School Pace program. When Jack himself became a Cub Scout, Tom led the group by becoming Cub Master, giving rebirth to a failing troop.
Tom, while active at Jack's elementary school, went further by joining the Knights of Columbus. Tom's dedication to that organization led to the position of Grand Knight in 2010-2011, also earning the rare Double Star Council Award. Once a salesman, always a salesman.
As technology grew into the new century and the recession altered paths, Tom left his newspaper career behind to aim at something that would help him better control his and his family's future.
He found this future with a national company called Budget Blinds. After the corporate world of politics, neckties and relentless hellfire, being his own boss was a corporate guy's dream. Tom saw multiple opportunities to improve the bottom line. The business began to grow. He was off and running and enjoying every minute of it.
In 2009 he was diagnosed with cancer. The challenges of building a business while managing his health was done with natural Tom Neton optimism, focus and privacy. He had several years of good health, enjoying the Budget Blinds business, Jack's never ending activities, and family life with Mary Ellen.
The Lord gave him this challenge. Then the Lord, without much notice to us all, said "Well done, Tom. It's time for you to go home and reap the rewards that only everlasting life can give". For that, our family is grateful.
Tom carved a path for his son to follow and left Mary Ellen full of love and a lifetime of cherished memories of a partnership of enduring happiness.