Tom Rosga was a woodworker. And a good one at that.

After the Hinckley man retired from his role as leader of the family's well drilling business in 2014, he concentrated on other passions in his life -- cooking, writing and newsletter editing and traveling with his fiancee, Ronda Willows of Mora.

Tom Rosga via Methven Funeral and Cremation Services
Tom Rosga via Methven Funeral and Cremation Services

Rosga also spent a lot of time in his woodworking shop doing commission work. All sorts of stuff from end tables to grandfather clocks. Tom Rosga was an accomplished woodworker.

In fact, he had been working on a grandfather clock for his fiancee since 2015. But he got sick with cancer and died in March of this year.

Tom was a member of -- and newsletter editor for -- the Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association, a group of men and women with a passion for making beautiful things out of wood. They meet each month to talk shop and share tips of the trade. And they trade stories about projects they're working on.

When Tom died -- and Ronda asked if anyone was able to finish the clock he was making for her -- group members Charlie Meyer and Mark Voigt took on the challenge. Neither man was a stranger to making grandfather clocks. In fact, Voigt has made some 300 clocks over his lifetime including the Husky Grandfather Clock outside the alumni offices at St. Cloud State University's Atwood Center.

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Tom's clock for Ronda is from a beautiful grandfather clock kit. It has a cherry wood  case with a walnut burl veneer. The clockworks feature a moondial face, Arabic numbers and ornate lyre pendulum -- all in gold. And the clock chimes with the traditional Westminster chimes as well as Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Ava Maria.

"We had so much fun," Voigt says. "It's been just a great experience" working on the clock with fellow CMWA member Charlie Meyer, who worked at Ferche Millworks in Rice for years and has made several clocks himself.

The two men spent more than 40 hours each transporting, cleaning, lacquering and assembling the clock Tom started, but couldn't complete.

"I knew what that would mean to Ronda if we could finish the clock," says Voigt.

Voigt and Meyer did finish the clock case -- in the last couple weeks, in fact -- a lot sooner than anyone thought they would. Now they're fine-tuning the clockworks -- getting them cleaned and oiled and ready to begin a lifetime of service.

Voigt says they hope to show-off the project during the CMWA picnic in July before handing Ronda the key to her new grandfather clock.

No doubt she's going to love it and remember Tom every time it chimes.

See pictures of the build:

From May 18  |  June 8  |  June 12  |  June 15


(PHOTO: Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association via Instagram)
From left, Charlie Meyer and Mark Voigt display Tom's clock for Ronda at the CMWA meeting earlier this month. (PHOTO: Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association via Instagram)


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