HAMILTON — Thomas E. Evans passed peacefully, comforted by his loved ones; so many also with him in spirit. True to his character, he bravely faced his battle with all his strength.
Tom was born in 1943 to Eddie and Mary Evans and raised on their family farm in Langdon, North Dakota. Tom dearly loved his farming roots, where he learned the values that shaped him into the hardworking man he became. He attended Langdon High School where he fell for the eldest Schroeder girl, Sandra. She would be his “Blondie” lovingly married for 41 years.
Tom graduated from the University of North Dakota earning a business degree along with his fair share of wild tales. He loved to tell stories from back in the day that likely included fast cars, or hustling pool for “extra money in his pocket.” The pictures of he and Sandra from the fraternity (ATO) parties speak for themselves and it is obvious they had a LOT of FUN in college! He always missed the first three weeks of classes being they fell during Harvest. Each year he would have to convince his professors that it wouldn’t be a problem for him to catch up on the missed material, and it never was.
After college and a wedding, (Sept. 4, 1965) he and Sandy were off to military life where he began his service in the United States Army. Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, his natural leadership skills would find him training fellow young soldiers to operate tanks.
He and Sandy would begin their family with the birth of their daughter Kathy, and three years later their son David would arrive in Montana.
Tom’s next life turn brought he and Sandy to the beautiful Bitterroot Valley to buy and operate their first hardware store. This was to become the vessel for his passion of business, and what would stimulate and bring the challenges he thrived on. He loved the hardware business and liked to say: “You know me, I bleed ACE red.” Words cannot express how proud his family is of his accomplishments; he earned everything he had.
His son David and (wife) Andi now proudly own and operate the legacy Tom built and put his life’s work into. It brought Tom great joy to see David carry on the family business with such success.
If Tom were a Farmer at heart, one could say the mountains were his mistress. He was a knowledgeable outdoors-man and avidly enjoyed hunting, camping, horseback trail riding and hiking. Always seeking new adventure, he introduced himself to downhill skiing and was hooked! It became one of his passions, not only for the speed and thrills, but the camaraderie of his beloved “Old Geezer Club.” He treasured those friendships.
The mountains were also the stage for his proud physical accomplishment of competing for many years in the “Mountain Goat Run” endurance hike. He loved the physical challenge of testing himself in an environment he loved so much.
Our family will be forever grateful for the love he and Debbie Peterson have shared. They made wonderful memories with world travels to conversations recanting business and events of the day, he of course with his signature whiskey high-ball! Tom will be credited for introducing Debbie to Grizzly Football, they had so much fun planning their fall around the football schedule and cheering on the Griz!
Tom could not quiet his desire for business ventures. Retirement may have included an impressive garden, a great pleasure throughout his life; but to the end he actively invested his time and expertise in partnering and guiding Brandon Peterson in opening two ACE Stores in the Boise, Idaho, area. Their relationship far exceeded business, sharing mutual trust and respect between two men of different generations.
He was a leader and role model in the Hamilton community he belonged to for over 50 years. He may have been your friend, your good neighbor, or likely the person that helped you in his store, as he knew how to fix everything! He had a big heart and cared so much about helping others. A generous supporter of local charities, he also impacted so many lives guiding with his wisdom and kindness. He was the beloved patriarch of our family and will be dearly missed. This Father’s Day, have a beautiful ride, Harley or Horseback (Sunny) you loved them both!
Thomas was preceded in death by his wife, Sandra J. Evans; parents, Eddie and Mary Evans; sister, Judith Brown; sister in law, Judy Evans. His survivors include his children, Kathy (Tucker) Urquhart and David (Andi) Evans; grandchildren, Madeline, Tyson, and Chase Urquhart, Bailey and Luke Evans; siblings, Neil Evans and Lois (Dean) Rumfo; brother in law, Gary Brown; Many nieces, nephews, including his special niece, Kelly Jo Henderson and his in-laws that he remained so close to over the years. He also leaves behind his loving partner Debbie Peterson.
Services are planned for July 16, 2020, and are being arranged by Daly Leach Memorial Chapel.
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