Janet C. (Mrs. Tom Thumb) Desmond, 97, died on July 2. Jan was born in Chicago on March 19, 1916, to Albert and Rose Feilen. She and her first husband, Charles E. Hansen, a high school classmate who she married in 1939, started the Tom Thumb mini-doughnut business at the Minnesota State Fair in 1950.
Charles was fatally injured in 1960 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in an accident involving the doughnut trailer. In 1962, Jan married John E. Desmond and together they continued to expand the business with two young men, Bob Everett and Rod Beltz, who literally became, their “sons.” John died in 2003.
Tom Thumb continues to flourish at State Fairs all over the country under the ownership and management of Bob Everett, Orin Gaul and Tom Bettenburg.
Jan loved her husbands, her church (St. Edward’s Catholic Church), her neighbors and many friends, traveling, winters in Bonita Springs, Fla., and her special “sons.” She leaves no surviving siblings or lineal descendants.
Jan lived a miraculous life. After her mother died when she was 2, she lived with her grandmother. At age 6 she was accidentally shot by a 14-year-old neighbor boy—“likely to die,” the Chicago newspaper said. Jan survived and died at 97 with the bullet still in her.
A memorial service was held on July 16 at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Bloomington.