suffers stroke, expected to make full recovery
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
"I know exactly what I want to say, it just takes a
little time," Tom explained. "But I'm coming
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
Carol said well-wishers can send greetings to her husband
at United Hospital, 333 North Smith Ave., St. Paul MN,
Carol noted she and her husband have already received an
outpouring of support from friends, family and
"I've gotten tons of messages," she said.
"I get home at night and I can't answer them
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,"
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
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
While Tom is already pondering a return to council
business, his council colleagues have been thinking of him
"Everyone at the city is praying for a full and
speedy recovery," Mayor Craig Klausing said.
George Fairbanks can be reached at email@example.com