Obituary for Thomas M. "Tom" Regan

Thomas M. "Tom" Regan, age 66, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, passed peacefully in the presence of family at his home, on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

 A visitation will be held on Sunday, March 19, 2023, from 3-6 p.m. at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation, 4565 Pleasant Street SE, Prior Lake, as well as on Monday, March 20, 2023, from 10-10:45 a.m. A Celebration of Life will follow at 11 a.m. and will be live streamed via Zoom at the following link: (Meeting ID: 880 6074 5289 / Passcode: 028921).

Tom will be laid to rest at Better Place Forests, St. Croix Valley, St. Croix, Minnesota, in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Tom may be made to: YouthLink, 41 N. 12th St, Minneapolis, MN 55372,  or ROCK MN, 16511 Anna Trail, Suite E, Prior Lake, MN 55372,

Tom was born in Mankato, Minnesota, on September 25, 1956. As a child, he was always happy; smiling and greeting everyone he met. He attended Loyola High School, where he enjoyed competing in speech (storytelling) and debate. In 1973, he also was elected Boys State Governor, the first from Mankato.

Tom attended college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he met and married the love of his life, Deb Wessel. He graduated with a BA in Sociology in 1978 and a law degree in 1981. After graduation, he moved to Minneapolis where Tom started his law career at Nichols & Kruger. There he was given his first tax litigation case and he was hooked. He continued his law career with Messerli & Kramer, eventually opening his own firm in 1987, working almost exclusively with tax litigation cases. That same year, he was named Minnesota Small Business Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration. Tom received many recognitions as a lawyer, but he was most proud of being named a Super Lawyer for more than 25 years, every year since its inception. It was easy to see why Tom received that designation. During his 41-year career, he represented everyone from small businesses to grandmas to celebrities with the same compassion and kindness. He ensured that they felt cared for enough to be able to sleep at night. Even after Tom knew that he did not have much time left, he worried about his clients' well-being and worked tirelessly to make sure every one of them was taken care of.

Growing up in Mankato, Tom's family moved to Lake Washington during the summers where he developed a passion for all types of waterskiing. That passion continued into his adult life; and, in 1992, he began to focus on barefooting. Though he had tried numerous sports, nothing had the thrill, excitement, and satisfaction of barefooting. He and his friends would head out at 5 a.m. before work to get the smoothest water possible. His love of barefooting led him to compete at the state and national level and to serve as a judge at many competitions.

Tom pushed the barefoot season as long as he could, starting in the spring as soon as the ice was out and ending in the fall with snow falling on his run. When the lake finally froze, he then switched to snow skiing and snow racing.

Tom also developed a passion for music while he was growing up. In college, he often performed folk songs of the time with his friend Dick Belatti. Tom's love of music continued throughout his life. He renewed his focus on playing the guitar during the pandemic and got many hours of joy practicing and learning music theory.

Tom absolutely loved being a dad and sharing his love of the water with his son, Scott, and his daughter, Brianna. The family spent most summer weekends at Lake Washington where they enjoyed knee boarding, wakeboarding, wake surfing, sailing and air chairing. In the early morning hours on smooth water days, Tom also enjoyed barefoot runs with his "Chief Boat Driver" Deb while the kids enjoyed Grandma Regan's ever-present chocolate chip cookies.

Tom loved following and supporting the passions of his kids and grandkids and shared everything they were up to with whomever would listen. He was especially excited that his granddaughter recently became a Daisy Scout so he could order all the Girl Scout cookies he wanted.

Tom's legacy will live on in all those he touched with his infectious smile and clear joy for life, but especially in those he loved the most: his wife of 42 years, Deb; son, Scott (Ali) Regan; daughter, Brianna Regan (Kyler Chase); grandchildren, Emmeline and Nels; sisters, Fay Regan and Molly Regan (Conrad Osborne); sister-in-law, Carol Regan; and many other loving relatives and friends.

Tom was predeceased by his parents, Robert and Patsy; brothers, Jack, Mike and Pat; and niece, Shannon Weithers.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared with Tom's family at:

Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation.