Roseville Review 8/1/2006 
Kough suffers stroke, expected to make full recovery

George Fairbanks
news editor

Tom Kough
Roseville City Council Member Tom Kough, 75, suffered a stroke July 20 that has left his speech impaired.

"I'm doing pretty good," he said during an interview last week. "I'm up walking around." The stroke occurred while his band, the Banjo Bandits, was performing a music gig. He was strumming his banjo when suddenly his arm felt paralyzed, he couldn't sing and his instrument tumbled onto the floor.

Last week Carol Kough, Tom's wife, confirmed that her husband is doing very well and is expected to regain his speech function with the help of physical therapy.

"He'll be in rehab for about a week," Carol said.

"I know exactly what I want to say, it just takes a little time," Tom explained. "But I'm coming along well."

Carol also said while her husband's speech is slightly slurred, especially when he's tired, his singing voice is still strong and clear.

"He can sing beautifully," she said. "The words come out beautifully."

Tom was a patient at United Hospital in St. Paul before moving upstairs to the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for physical therapy.

For his part, he is ready to tackle rehabilitation. "It's kind of like preventative maintenance," he said.

Carol said well-wishers can send greetings to her husband at United Hospital, 333 North Smith Ave., St. Paul MN, 55102.

Carol noted she and her husband have already received an outpouring of support from friends, family and constituents.

"I've gotten tons of messages," she said. "I get home at night and I can't answer them all."

Tom and Carol have also been buoyed by personal visits from numerous family and friends.

Carol added that her husband, a highly accomplished diver with decades of experience, will be forced to miss the 11th annual World Masters Championship slated for Aug. 3-17 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

"He's doing really well but the doctors don't think he's ready for that yet," Carol said.

While he's disappointed he won't be able to participate in the elite competition, Tom noted his focus right now is regaining his strength.

"I've got more important things to do at home," he added.

Looking back to the fateful band performance July 20, Carol said, "He hung on until the last song but then he lost his banjo and couldn't sing," Carol said.

Tom explained he suffered a heart-attack about 10 years ago, which might have contributed to his stroke. "Some plaque broke off and it settled in the speech part of the brain."

Anxious to return

As she was being interviewed last Thursday morning, Carol laughed as she described her husband's eagerness to get up and work again.

"He's (reviewing) the City Council packet right now; I'm telling him to relax," she said.

Carol added her husband has already made it known he intends to be at the Aug. 14 council meeting.

"He already told them," she said, with another laugh.

In addition to his work on the City Council, Tom is also eager to follow the upcoming city elections for mayor and one council seat. (His term expires in 2008.)

"There's some good candidates, and I'm looking forward to the campaign," he said. "We have some important work to do."

After completing his rehab, he will be allowed to recover at home.

While Tom is already pondering a return to council business, his council colleagues have been thinking of him as well.

"Everyone at the city is praying for a full and speedy recovery," Mayor Craig Klausing said.

George Fairbanks can be reached at gfairbanks@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813.

 Copyright 2006, Lillie Suburban Newspapers