“My wife, Barb, was great for saying, “good things happen to people who go to church and believe in Jesus as their Savior.” And good things have most certainly happened to us all through our lives. Specifically, I am thankful to have had just a few experiences, but enough of them have solidified that faith for me personally. Again, it has truly been a great life.” – Tom Overton
Tom Overton was born May 7, 1925 in Webster, S.D., to Ira and Mabel (Caverhill) Overton and passed away Feb. 24, 2019 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Tom was raised the son of a small-town elevator operator, Ike Overton, for whom he was so very proud. The influence his parents had on him carried him all through his life. On the first day of school in the first grade, Tom met Barbara Delaney. He went home and announced to his mother he was going to marry her. This was the beginning of an 88-year romance! Before graduating high school in 1943, he volunteered at age 17 for the army. He was stationed in NW India, now Pakistan, as a radio operator with the Army Airways Communications System (AACS), on the China airlift of “the Hump” fame in the Himalaya mountain range during WWII. After the war was over Tom “married her” in 1948. He finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy at SDSU, and took a job in Sturgis, S.D. His boss’s wife was a sister to RR Stevens’ wife in Baker, Mont. and together they talked him into moving to Baker for one year to operate the Baker Drug. They stayed for 60 years.
They became a family, accumulating five kids – Becky, Mark, Todd, Jill and Kaye. At the same time, they became rabid Baker Spartan fans and followed the team all over the country. Tom was very active in the Baker community. He served many years on the school board, American Lutheran Church Council, Hospital Board, Airport Board, Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Baker Jaycees. He was also a member of the American Legion, 68-year member of the Olive Branch Lodge and member of the Experimental Aircraft Association since 1968. In the late ‘70s, with his partner, Wally Olds, they built the Baker Cable TV System.
While living life, he used to say he did a bit of “politikin” He felt honored to have been selected a Republican delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1968 casting his vote for Richard Nixon. He and Barb enjoyed traveling with their kids on long annual vacations, going to Big Sky skiing and visiting their many business ventures in Western Montana. Tom always liked airplanes. In 1968, he bought a set of plans for a Starduster Too, a two-place open cockpit biplane that he built in the garage. He closed Baker Drug at 7 p.m. – built until midnight – five years later it is Rexall orange and blue. He and Barb had many adventures together in this plane. It is still flying today by a young commercial pilot named Paul Burnett from Canada.
Dad wrote a book entitled, “My Story”. Some like to say it didn’t even have to be edited but with Barb there, it was edited. Our Dad was an absolute prince of a man: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, AND he drank Scotch!
He is survived by his wife, Barb of 70 years; daughter, Becky and sons – Tommy and Jen, Tyler and Jaclyn, Geoff and Christina from Portland; son, Todd (Vicky) daughters Mandi (Chad) Varner, Baker, Mont., Marnee Overton, Phoenix and son Bryan (Danielle) Overton, Rio Rancho, N.M.; daughter, Jill (Ty) Fuerhoff and daughter Ashley from Urbandale, Iowa, and Taylor, Celebration, Flor.; daughter, Kaye (John) Duffield, Justin and Annie Duffiance, Seattle, Wash., Shelby and fiancé Matt Anderson and Andrea; seven great-grandchildren: Livia, Gradin, and Lex Varner, Delaney Saliba, Emma and Kate Overton and Maren Ziemer; favorite nephew, Rob Overton; and favorite great nephew, Tommy Ritter.
Preceding him in death are his parents; son, Mark Overton; siblings, Mildred Marquardt, Birdine Sandler, Harold, Corky and Ralph Overton; and niece, Mary Marquardt.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the American Lutheran Church, Baker, Mont..
Celebration of Life Service will be Friday, March 1, 2019 at 10 a.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 5311 Sheridan Lake Road with Pastor David Piper officiating. Inurnment will follow at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D. with full military honors.
Family and friends may sign Tom’s online guestbook at www.kirkfuneralhome.com.