BLACK RIVER FALLS — Thomas Irwin Harmes, 77, of Black River Falls passed away Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Bethany St. Joseph’s Care Center, La Crosse. He was born Dec. 2, 1935, in Black River Falls, to Gordon and Martha (Preston) Harmes.
Tom grew up in Black River Falls and was a graduate of Black River Falls High School, class of 1954.
He worked on the Bud Wyss farm before going to work for the Box Factory. Following the Box Factory, Tom went to work for Jackson Electric until his retirement after 36 years.
He was united in marriage to Marianne Johnson and they had four children. They were later divorced.
In 1980, he married his best friend, Bonnie (Wakershauser) Peters. Tom helped raise, Bonnie’s two boys.
Tom was an avid outdoor enthusiast. He had a passion for hunting and fishing, and he also enjoyed camping with family and friends. He frequently traveled West to the Black Hills. He and Bonnie went to Deadwood, South Dakota every chance they had, sometimes four times a year. While there, they stayed on a friend’s ranch in their motor home and enjoyed panning for gold. His turkey hunting adventures earned him the nickname “Turkey Tom”. He shot the first turkey in Jackson County. Tom never missed a year of hunting deer, planning for the annual deer hunt with his sons and grandchildren weeks in advance. Tom also enjoyed living near the river, many evenings after work he would head down to his favorite fishing hole on the river. He also traveled to Colorado with his friend, Chuck Smith, for some elk hunting.
He is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie; children, Craig (Sheila) Harmes of Trempealeau, Kristyl (Bill Blodgett) Smith of Rochester, N.Y., Kirk Harmes of Eau Claire, Wis., Keel (Deb) Harmes of Fairchild, Wis.; stepson, Scott (Bonnie) Peters of Sparta; grandchildren, Matthew Harmes, Senja (A.J) Algiers, Cody (Debra) Smith, Kacy Smith, Emily and Abby Harmes, Kayla Nye, Paige and Katelyn Peters; great-grandson, Kolban Nye; brothers, Keith (Diana) Harmes of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ken (Becky) Harmes of McMinnville, Ore.; half-brother, David (Sherry) Harmes of Larsen bay, Ala.; half-sister, Sandra Gazaldon of New Mexico; fishing and hunting partner, Chuck Smith; other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Gordon and Martha; step children, LoriAnn and Brian Peters.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at Squaw Creek Lutheran Church, Black River Falls. The Reverend Calvin Thoreson will be officiating. Burial will follow in Squaw Creek Cemetery, Black River Falls.
Family and friends are invited for visitation from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday at Buswell Funeral Home, Black River Falls or from noon until the time of the service Wednesday at the church.
Memorial gifts can be made to Squaw Creek Lutheran Church or to NASA (North America Squirrel Association, PO Box 186, Holmen, Wis. 54636), a non-profit organization that helps the elderly and physically challenged enjoy the outdoors.
Buswell Funeral Home of Black River Falls is assisting the family with arrangements.