Tom Harman was born on January 14, 1953 in Tacoma Washington. He spent his childhood days having adventures throughout the neighborhood and city. He never sat still for very long, preferring to be outdoors hanging with his many friends and his dog that followed him everywhere. He was a natural born athlete playing most sports at some point in his life. He excelled on the ball field and developed his love of football as #62 for Washington High School. He played slow pitch for many years.
But perhaps his greatest athletic accomplishment was a 50-yard snowball throw that hit the target right in the face. Tom’s football coach told him once that those days would be the best of his life and while he doubted it at the time, upon reflection in his later years he agreed it was true. Tom developed numerous, deep, lasting friendships in those days that continued to the very end of his life with phone calls and visits bringing him laughter and love the last month of his life.
Tom was tough, and could honestly say he had never lost a fight (or backed down from one) since the fifth grade. Tom had the heart of a tiger and would always rise to any situation that messed with someone he loved or someone picking on someone disadvantaged. He won the So You Think Your Tough fight in his 20’s.
Tom was a hard worker. He worked his first day on the docks at the Port of Tacoma on his 16th birthday. During a “break” from Longshoring he did numerous jobs including: working all over the US and Canada for a blasting outfit and on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. In those days he could haul the wood and build a cedar fence in one day. He retired as a longshoreman due to kidney disease in 2013.
Tom lived many lifetimes in one. The free-spirited childhood, the best days of high school, the early years of parenting, the fast, hard driving, wild years of his twenties and thirties, the miraculous grace filled days of recovery when he accepted God’s love and help in 1993, the injury and illness days which presented new challenges and obstacles to deal with and overcome, the renewed life days of being a grandfather, and the aloha days in Maui whenever he could get there.
Tom developed a love of fishing with his Dad as a boy. He always said one of his favorite sounds on earth was the sound of a big salmon running out his line. He had an iron stomach never getting sea sick even when trying to lure in his salmon while it was in the mouth of a seal two years ago. But his fondest fishing memories were made on Lake Kapowsin where he taught his brother from another mother, John how to catch a fish. John went on and continues to be the Captain.
Tom liked excitement in life and he was no stranger to the adrenaline rush of card rooms, dice games, and fantasy football. Crazy horse was a contender all the years he played. He loved history especially of the Civil and World Wars. He was a movie buff later in life and watched his favorite just 2 weeks ago, “Somebody Up There Likes Me”. He was a genuine guy and was not impressed or in need of materialistic things. (although the metallic blue dodge challenger he treated himself to in 2016 may have impressed him a little bit). He loved to swim especially in his youth at Spanaway Lake and in the warm, blue waters of Maui. He loved babies, children, animals, fairness, not judging people, minding his business. He kept confidences and never gossiped about people. He loved the Lord, starting and ending every day in private prayer.
Tom had a ferocious heart. If he loved you it was forever and no matter what. He loved unconditionally. He always wanted to be a great Father in life and his true regret in life was falling short on that goal and letting time go bye too quickly without seeing those he cared about so much.
Tom was proceeded in death by his parents and his first daughter Kellie. He is survived by:
“His Vonniedee” wife, Yvonne, Sisters- Teresa and Tillie, Son- Zackary, Daughters- Kasie, Jill, April and Angie, Grandsons- Domiano, Zarian, and Jack, Granddaughters- Hayley, Sienna, Belle, Sophia, and Ailey, Nieces-Michelle, Jennifer, and Cherilynn, and Jamie, Nephews- John and Barry, Brother from another Mother and best friend, John Fortner, Zack’s Mother Terry and too many longtime friends that he loved, to count.
A most heartfelt thank you and love to Jenny. A true friend to the end. (and one heck of a baseball team mate) And to Joy, for all you did these last few years; love forever.
Tom’s Memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at Bethany Lutheran Church, 26418 Mountain Hwy E. Spanaway, Washington 98387.