If you lived anywhere near Aitkin, Minnesota, in the '80s and '90s, you heard his voice on the radio.

If you were a fan of the Casey Jones programs on Channel 11 in the Cities, you knew him as the manager of Uncle John's Pancake house in Golden Valley.

If you ever ate at the Roadside restaurant in Aitkin in the '80s, he was the manger there.

If you went somewhere and heard a band called the Buccaneers, you heard him play and sing.

John Tholen was a special guy. I met him when I went to work for KKIN radio in Aitkin in the '80s. He had hosted a big band music show on the FM station there for many years. He hosted some other shows, and later near the end of my run there, became the news director. He had an incredible voice.

He had done work in television with Roger Aswumb, who played Casey Jones. And as far as I remember, they stayed in touch until Roger passed away. Roger for many years had a show on a competing station in Pequot Lakes, KLKS, which is not that far from Aitkin.

He always had some good stories for the listeners. He had an absolutely incredible voice.  And the only time I didn't smile a lot when I was around him, is when I was bowling against him. He was pretty good.

He wrote a book called Tears. He billed it as a work of fiction based on historical facts of the area. He wrote a second book, but it was never published.

John passed away at age 85 Tuesday, November 29. He joins all those great radio voices of the past as well as his friend Roger and the broadcast center in the sky.

A gathering of family and friends will be 1-4PM Saturday, December 3, at the 40 Club Restaurant in Aitkin. Burial with military honors will be at noon Thursday, December 8, at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery at Camp Ripley. Arrangements are with Sorensen-Root-Thompson Funeral Home in Aitkin. His complete obituary is at www.srtfuneral.com.