Thomas Eldon McFarland, 87
Born May 22, 1930 to LeRoy (Packy) and Sylvia McFarland in Bloomfield, Nebraska. He attended a one-room rural school. As a teenager he worked for various farmers and drove truck for his brother in Kellerton, Iowa.
On September 27, 1951 he married the neighbor girl, Ardis Tweedy. Knowing he would be answering Uncle Sam’s “Greetings” the following week, he said to wedding guests “If you’re ever in New York, or California, or Korea stop in and see me sometime.” Tom then added “I tried to enlist before the war but they said I had flat feet and double vision; once the war broke out they didn’t look at my feet or my eyes.”
Tom proudly served in the United States Marine Corp which included a twelve month tour of duty in Korea. He was a 1st Machine Gunner in the 5th Marine Division during the war. In June of ’51 he received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. He completed his tour of duty then returned state side to Camp Pendleton where he was joined by Ardis and served as an M.P. at the gate. He was honorably discharged in October of ’53.
Upon completing his service to his country, Tom returned to Nebraska where he farmed briefly with his older brothers. In 1954 Tom and Ardis welcomed the arrival of their first child, Michael. In the spring of ’57 the family moved to Denver, Colorado where Tom worked in home construction. Tom and a partner formed their own company, R&T Construction. They specialized in building homes and apartments until 1969.
During their twelve years in Denver, Tom and Ardis welcomed two more children, Jeannie and Jeffrey, into their family. Making the decision to leave Denver they followed the advice of a neighbor and made a trip to the Flathead Valley. They came, they liked what they saw and two weeks later made the move.
Once settled, Tom joined with Dale Schulz to form Brickwood Construction. Later Tom would join with his son Mike to form McFarland Construction. Over a fourteen year period of building in the valley Tom left a legacy of homes and commercial structures that serve as reminders of his skills to this day.
In 1983, Tom, along with his wife and son Jeff, started a small dairy operation. They milked 50 to 80 head of Holsteins for the next fourteen years retiring the herd in 1997. When asked what he was going to do next Tom replied “I think I’ll hit the road and see if there is anything south of Lakeside.”
Tom spent his retirement years doing the things he loved most, watching his eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren grow (with a ninth due in April), attending more football, baseball, softball, basketball, swimming and soccer events than one can count. He visited with friends (he never met a stranger) and kept a few head of livestock around to occupy his time.
Tom will be remembered for his love of family, sense of humor, gift of gab and sparkle of mischief in his brilliant blue eyes.
Tom left this world, surrounded by loved ones, on Monday, March 12th, 2018. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Burt (Margaret), Ray (Eileen), sisters Ellen (Arthur) Driver, Dorothy (Earl) Sherman, Cleo (Herman) Wenke, Opal (Moritz) McShannon and brother in-law Doyle Jones. Father and mother-in-law Albert and Iva Tweedy, brother and sister-in-law Ray and Lorraine Woockman. Nephews Eldon McFarland, Arlan Sherman, Tom Sherman and Kenneth Koops.
He is survived by wife Ardis, children Michael and wife Mary, Jeannie, Jeffrey and wife Jackie all of Kalispell. Grandchildren Mandi (John) Cole, Dylan (Allie) McFarland, Jesse A. McFarland, Olivia McFarland-Barrett, Nickole McFarland, Jesse C. McFarland, Ashley McFarland and Jeffrey McFarland. Great grandchildren Greta, Thomas and Vaida Cole, William and Addison McFarland, Drew and Devin McFarland and Rylee Evans. He is also survived by sister Alda Jones, sister-in-law Phyllis (Julian) Weslow, brother in-law Ronald (Judy) Tweedy and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held at Fairview Cemetery later this spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tom’s name to the Humane Society of Northwest Montana or the charity of your choice.