July 12, 2023 at 9:10 a.m.
Thomas Eugene Kostreba, also known as “Tommer,” 63, of Gillette, Wyoming, crossed the finish line of life June 29, 2023, at Campbell County Health.
Tom was born in St. Cloud, Nov. 21, 1959, to Henry and Darlene (Lange) Kostreba. Tom grew up in the small town of Opole and attended and graduated from Holdingford High School in 1977. After he graduated from high school, he pursued his big move out west, which would lead him to many great adventures in life. He resided in Colorado and Utah for a few years, working oil field and construction jobs. He settled down in Gillette, Wyoming, and made it home in the early 80s. He started working for Black Thunder Coal Mine Jan. 26, 1989, where he worked for 33 years until his death as a plant operator. He also sold Amsoil products in his spare time and serviced customers’ vehicles and made many great friends by this business. On Jan. 10,1995, he welcomed his only daughter, Kaylee Snow Kostreba, into the world.
At a young age, Tom discovered a lifelong passion for snowmobiling and made the Big Horn Mountains his second home. When he wasn’t working that’s where he could be found living his life to the fullest and fulfilling his adrenaline needs and spending time at Bear Lodge Resort where he would meet many people that became his family over the course of his life. He and his mountain buddies started a group called “Bear Lodge Bad Boys Club,” a rider’s club where many years of money would be raised for local search and rescue and riding events on the mountain. When the snow melted away for summer, he enjoyed riding four wheelers and his Indian motorcycle. He was always proud of the miles he was putting on them. He liked to live his life with the throttle wide open.
Through his passions, he developed many friendships and made an impression on anyone he met. His friends described him as loyal, full of life, loving, helpful, determined, ambitious and driven. Most people would say he had the most contagious laugh. You could hear it from a distance, and it would fill a room.
Tom was persistent in sharing his passions with others and was a part of snowmobile clubs from a young age until his passing. He was always volunteering and dedicating his time to his club. One of his biggest goals in life was to spread the knowledge and sport of snowmobiling. As he aged, he started fulfilling lifelong dreams of ice oval snowmobile racing, collecting, riding and showing vintage snowmobiles. He was easily noticeable from other riders because of his bright orange and black race gear along with his customized snowmobiles with his race number 007x, which was iconic in his identity. His biggest dream was to race at the World Championship Derby Complex in Eagle River, Wisconsin, which he did attend and compete in time trials. He was thrilled.
Besides his passions for motorsports, he had a giant soft spot for his daughter and son-in-law and two granddaughters, Maizee and Emerie. He had a third grandbaby on the way. They were his world. He enjoyed spending time with them. They were the light of his life he would say. He couldn’t wait to get them on their first snowmobiles, dirt bikes and side-by-sides. He started collecting them before they were even born.
Tom was a great philosopher and was known for many quotes, the most famous being “It is what it is” and “Each day you live, but you only die once. Live each day like it’s the last lap of the race.” He loved spreading awareness about life and encouraging others to live life to the fullest, which he did and passed away feeling his life was lived that way.
Tom was survived by his mother, Darlene Kostreba; his brother, William (Brenda) Kostreba; his sisters, Lori Ann (Jeff) Jarnot and Kristi Kostreba (Shawn Shumacher); his daughter, Kaylee (Zane) Humphries and granddaughters Maizee and Emerie Humphries. He also was survived by many nieces and nephews he cared deeply for.
Tom was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents and his father, Henry Kostreba.
Per request by him, a celebration of life will be held at a later date in the Big Horn Mountains with his loved ones and friends. There will also be future arrangements in Minnesota for a celebration of life for his friends and family that can’t attend his celebration on the mountain.
If any donations wish to be made in his memory, please send them to 307 Riders Snowmobile Club at [email protected] or explore the idea of checking out and joining your local snowmobile or riding club in honor of his memory. Memorials and condolences may be sent to Gillette Memorial Chapel 210 West Fifth Street, Gillette, WY 82716 or via the web at www.gillettememorialchapel.com.