Thomas W. Ferverda, 85, Indianapolis, and formerly of Kokomo, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, after a battle with the COVID-19 virus.
Tom was born in Leesburg on Feb. 20, 1935, to Dean and Dorothy (Loyd) Ferverda, who predeceased him.
He is survived by his beautiful wife of 63 years, Susan Elaine Lephart Ferverda; daughters Lynn Elaine Claytor and Melissa Ferverda Miller (Thor), Indianapolis, and Lori Jo Pizarek (Dan), San Marcos, Texas; grandchildren Joseph Senkovich III (Kate), Kayley Senkovich, Steven Senkovich, and Ben Claytor (Kelsey Bartholomew), all of Florida, Thomas (Ellen) Pizarek, Austin, Texas, Kurt Miller and Evan Miller, Indianapolis, and Grant Miller, Pensacola, Fla.; and great-grandson Dean Harold Pizarek, Austin, Texas. His brother, Robert D. (Nancy) Ferverda, Warsaw, also survives.
Tom’s birth was unique, not because it was a home birth – that was common in the day – but because he was initially placed in the oven! It served as an incubator for him as he and his mother recovered from his difficult birth.
Tom experienced a delightful childhood, growing up in Leesburg. He lived with his parents, brother Bob and his grandparents Ira and Pearl (Frederickson) Ferverda. Tom was especially close to his Grandpa Ira, who was a disabled Spanish-American War veteran. His Granny Pearl was a nurse/midwife, whose first aid skills proved useful with two active grandsons!
Ira and Pearl owned a hatchery in Leesburg. Tom’s dad Dean worked as a carpenter. Mother Dorothy worked at Leesburg Hardware and Leesburg Lumber.
Tom graduated from Leesburg High School in 1953. He spent his freshman year of college at Ball State Teachers College in Muncie on a track scholarship before transferring to Indiana University Bloomington, where he graduated with a business administration degree in 1957. Throughout his life, Tom treasured his friendships with his Theta Chi fraternity brothers.
Tom and Susan married in early 1957 while students at IU. After graduation, they settled in Kokomo, where Tom began his career with Delco Electronics. Tom held 23 jobs at Delco over the course of 35 years. He began his career as an accounting clerk and retired from the position of personnel manager in 1993.
Tom was dedicated to a number of volunteer and civic activities. Highlights included serving Howard County as a councilman and as a member of the welfare board and library board. Tom was a Master Mason and held membership in Kosciusko Masonic Lodge 418 for 64 years. He was also a member of the Kokomo Y’s Men. The Ferverda girls fondly remember helping their dad at the annual Y’s Men Christmas Tree Lot. After retiring from Delco, Tom worked for the BMV teaching defensive and mature driving courses, and he volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital.
Tom excelled at track in high school and college. Though a broken ankle at IU ended his athletic career, his love of sports continued. For more than 20 years, Tom served as an IHSAA track official throughout Central Indiana. Later, he officiated NCAA meets throughout Central Indiana, gradually concentrating on officiating for his alma mater, Indiana University.
In Indianapolis, Tom officiated for the USA Track & Field Association during the Pan Am Games, the Police and Fire Games and various national and Olympic qualifying meets. In 1996, the NCAA named Tom as IU’s NCAA Track Official of the Year. In 1997, he was named Track Official of the Year for the State of Indiana by the United States Track & Field Association.
After Susan retired from teaching elementary school in 1995, the Ferverdas moved to Indianapolis. Both volunteered at the President Benjamin Harrison Home, and Tom joined the Downtown Indy Sertoma Club. Tom often volunteered at Christ the King School, where three of his grandsons attended. He especially loved working as a track official for the school’s track meets.
Tom delighted in living on the canal near Broad Ripple, where he taught his grandchildren to fish, catch turtles and snakes and love nature. Not only was Tom a wonderful father, he was the best grandpa any child could wish for.
Tom was known for his great smile and kindness. In recent years, a number of people have shared with the family how Tom’s encouraging words and advice positively impacted the course of their lives.
The family thanks the wonderful people of Anthology Senior Living, Grace-At-Home and Brookdale Hospice for the excellent care given to Tom over the past year and a half. While we are grateful to them all, we especially want to recognize and thank Quinton Young and Paula Mathews for their loving and consistent care.
Tom, a lifelong Methodist, will be laid to rest in Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson at a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that you share some small kindness with the world in his honor.
Condolences may be left at cremationsocietyofindiana.com/obituary/1383.