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Thomas Hartigan Clear Lake

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:07 a.m. CST

Thomas Bernard Hartigan, age 89, of Clear Lake, Iowa, formerly of Fort Dodge, died March 2, 2014, in Mason City. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fort Dodge on Saturday, March 15, at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Corpus Christi Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Iowa Army National Guard. Visitation will be held on Friday, March 14 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Gunderson Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Fort Dodge as well as one hour before Mass on Saturday.

Tom is survived by two daughters, Pat Sund (Chuck), of Grayslake, Ill., and Leigh Trembath (Stuart), of Clear Lake; four grandchildren, Erin Sund (Sam Eccleston) of Chicago, Brendan Sund of New York, Lauren Trembath-Neuberger (Julie) of Seattle and Hannah Trembath of St. Louis. He is also survived by one brother, Paul Hartigan (Dode), of Omaha, Neb., and two sisters-in-law, Donna Hartigan of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ruth French, of Oskaloosa, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Raymond and Charles and sister-in-law Mary Jane Hartigan.

Tom was born January 31, 1925, on a farm near Ute, Iowa, to Edward and Catherine (Holthaus) Hartigan. After graduating from Ute High School in 1943, Tom enlisted in the Army and served for the next three years on Saipan in the South Pacific Theater. At the end of World War II, Tom began his academic career at William Penn College before transferring to the University of Northern Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Arts. He later received a Master of Science from Iowa State University and completed post-graduate work at Montana State University, Drake University and the University of Northern Iowa. 

Tom married Eleanor Crumbaugh, the love of his life, on October 25, 1947, in Oskaloosa. They began a nearly 60-year partnership, marked by a zest for life, devotion to family and friends, and a shared commitment to the education and betterment of youth.    

Tom was a life-long educator and athlete. He began his teaching and coaching career in 1950 at Platteville, Colo., where he taught social studies and coached various sports, including basketball, football, baseball and gymnastics. He continued his teaching and coaching career in Moulton, Iowa, and in 1954, Tom and Eleanor moved to Fort Dodge, where he was an educator for 32 years. Tom taught world history and physical education, and assumed various coaching responsibilities over the years, including basketball, golf and tennis for men and women. Wishing to reach younger children through fun and fitness, Tom left the high school to teach physical education in elementary schools, and served as health and physical education coordinator for the school system. From 1971 until his retirement in 1986, Tom educated Fort Dodge youth as an elementary principal at Wahkonsa, Pleasant Valley, Hillcrest, Feelhaver and Cooper Schools. Tom was a life-long member of the Colorado, Iowa and National Education Associations.

Tom believed in actively serving one’s community. He served as a Fort Dodge Parks and Recreation Commissioner, board member for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, announcer for the Special Olympics, Trinity Regional Hospital Auxiliary Board member and volunteer for the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry. Tom’s personal time was dedicated first and foremost to his family and friends. In retirement, he also enjoyed golf, tennis, gardening, furniture refinishing and following a wide variety of sports and world events.  

After 48 years as part of the Fort Dodge community, the Hartigans moved to Clear Lake in 2002 to be close to their daughter Leigh and to participate in their granddaughters’ activities.

Tom remained an attentive and concerned citizen who knew that even the smallest act of kindness could potentially change the world. Tom was revered as a father, grandfather, educator and friend. His silliness and sense of humor, his constant expressions of love and encouragement, and his fascination with nature will be missed deeply by all who knew him. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry, 127 N 10th St, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501.

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