Thomas Frank Laird, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, died unexpectedly at home of natural causes on Oct. 16, 2020.
Tom was born July 16, 1941 in Butte, Mont., to Thomas William Laird and Louise Boroni Laird.
He attended grades 1-8 at St. John’s Catholic School and graduated from Butte High School in 1959. He played center for the Butte High Bulldogs football team and was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame for his role as manager of the state championship-winning basketball team.
Tom worked his way through college at the University of Montana in Missoula, serving as a houseboy in a sorority and as a journeyman carpenter, a skill he learned from his father.
He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, where he forged many lifelong friendships. He met his future wife Dorothy Pemberton at a Sigma Chi-Kappa Alpha Theta exchange in the fall of their freshman year and they weretogether ever since.
Within one week during March of 1964, Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, and married Dorothy Pemberton.
In the Air Force, Tom was assigned to work in electronic data processing and computer programming, which would later become his career in civilian life. He was on active duty for four years at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts andwas honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.
In 1968, Tom and Dorothy moved to the Denver, Colo., area. Tom continued his career in data processing with Petroleum Data Systems, eventually serving as president of the company. He formed his own company, Energy Automation, Inc. in the late 1970s.
During their time in Colorado, their sons were born,Thomas Scott in 1970 and Kent in 1973.
The family moved to Whitefish, Mont. in 1984, and Tom and Dorothy have lived in the home they built on Lion Mountain ever since. Tom continued to work in computer programming from his home office.
Tom passionately pursued many interests, chief among them were skiing, flying, and sailing. He was actively involved in the Flathead Valley Ski Foundation, the Flathead Hangar of the Montana Pilots Association, and the North Flathead Yacht Club.
In later years, fine woodworking become a primary interest for Tom. He taught himself the craft, and produced, among other things, beautiful carved rocking horses and cedar strip kayaks that will remain a legacy for generations. Tom poured his heart into everything he tried.
According to his sons, Tom was an amazing father, grandfather and father in-law. He taught his children and grandchildren many things, was a good source of advice and wisdom, and was always ready for an adventure or willing to lend a hand.
He was an active volunteer for a number of years with the DREAM Adaptive Ski Program and was known for his patience and kindness toward his skiing buddies. He also did extensive volunteer work for the Flathead County Library System while Dorothy was the Library Director.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
In addition to his wife, Dorothy, Tom is survived by his brother Jerry (Brenda); sisters Jo Ann Fowler and CharrisseTudor; aunt Alice Given; and his sons, Thomas Scott (Beth)and their daughters Lindsay and Anna; and Kent (Tonya) and their sons Aidan, Thomas Cooper, and Noah.
No services are scheduled at the present time. Memorials are suggested to DREAM Adaptive Ski Program or the Flathead Valley Community College Foundation
Austin Funeral and Cremation in Whitefish is caring for Tom’s family.
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