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Obituary for Thomas D. 'Tom' Roe
Thomas D Roe passed away peacefully on March 16, 2015 at the Pioneer Medical Center after a long courageous battle with cancer. Tom was born on August 1, 1930 to D Writer and Marie L. Roe at Franklin Hospital, Franklin, New Jersey and grew up at the family farm on Beaver Run Road, Lafayette, New Jersey. Tom graduated in 1949 from Newton High School and continued his studies at Moravian College in Pennsylvania. On August 29, 1951, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth (Betty) Van Orden from Sussex, New Jersey. Tom served in the Army from 1951-1953 during the Korean War and tour of duty in Germany and served in the reserves for the following 5 years. After being discharged from the Army, Tom worked in a factory and went to school nights to become a machinist 1st class and tool dye maker. He worked odd jobs to earn additional income. These jobs were working with a farm tractor on yards/lawns. In 1958, he bought his first backhoe from a Ford Tractor dealer in Sussex. He had no money for a down payment so he traded his deer rifle. The backhoe was a Ford Tractor with an O'Henry Backhoe attached and so began the construction company which is still in business and going strong after 57 years. The company, Tom Roe & Son Construction, grew into a respected and successful business in Sussex County. Tom always liked a challenge and recognized opportunities and moved the business along with the help of his wife and family to Big Timber, Montana in 1972. Since that time, the family business has expanded with many heavy equipment projects to include building and repairing golf courses and various other challenging projects and opportunities. Tom always like to "wheel and deal" on the side too. The family business continues this legacy now with the 3rd generation. Tom retired at the age of 74 but was still was active getting involved asking where work was and giving advice - would you believe? In fact, Tom was on a backhoe as recent as last year. Tom loved to hunt and shares a story about a time that he hitch hiked home from college. He was carrying a deer he had shot plus a rifle and was picked up by a driver that had a bit too much to drink. He brought him home to the farm. Those days are long gone but what memories. In 1965, Tom came to Big Timber, Montana to hunt which continued annually plus many camping trips with the family. They met many lifelong friends during these years. In 1972, Tom and Betty moved their family to their present home south of Big Timber on the Boulder River. They fell in love with the area. Tom loved his home and would sit in his trophy room with Betty and view the river and many of his trophy mounts displayed to include geese, ducks, birds, deer, elk, sheep and a large buffalo each with their own "hunting story". Tom was able to travel beyond the area to hunt in Alaska which was a treasured memory although the local hunts were the best. He mentioned that he appreciated the neighbors' patience with his hunting. Tom and Betty enjoyed many travels; however their favorite area was home. Tom very much loved his life on the Boulder River and his family plus friends. He could daily enjoy the sound of the River plus view the birds, ducks, geese, eagles, turkey, deer and even a bear at times as they too enjoyed the River - so peaceful. Bottom line, he loved his construction work, living on the Boulder and foremost his family, friends and his always loyal black lab companion, Chi. Tom is survived by his wife, Betty of 63+ years and their four children, Charles Thomas "Chip" Roe (Melanie) of Big Timber, Nancy Lee Roe of Baker , Robin Elizabeth Hanel (Tom) of Billings and Betsy Dee Indreland (Roger) of Big Timber and his sister, Nancy Crowell of Monroe Township, New Jersey and her family. Grandpa (Poppy) will be missed by many grandchildren, Missy (Miah), Sara (Paxton), Writer (Shannon), Stacy (Ryan), Elizabeth, Adam (Amanda), Brenda (Chris), Anne (Schyler) and Kate plus great grandchildren including Zoey, Ian, Aspen, Wren, Brooks, Elise, Ethan and Owen and one on the way. Tom always said "Look Betty what we started!" In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Tom's name to Hearts & Hands Hospice, PO Box 1337 the Crazy Mountain Museum, PO Box 83, Big Timber, Montana 59011 or Lafayette Center Preservation Fund, P.O. Box 702, Lafayette, New Jersey 07848.
2:00 P.M. Friday
March 20, 2015
First Congregational United Church of Christ
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