Thomas "Tom" George Schwab Sr., 76, of Fairfield, Montana, passed away on February 4, 2022 of natural causes.
Tom was born on July 3, 1945 to Arnold and Florence Schwab in Shepherd, Montana. After Tom graduated from Shepherd High School in 1965, he joined the Montana Army Reserves and worked at L.P Andersen Oil Field Equipment. In 1968, Tom met Shelley Shelhamer in Billings, MT. They were married at Shelley's parent's Cabin Creek Ranch in Shepherd in 1969. He worked for his in-laws out on the ranch and was a truck driver for Continental Kyle Food Service. He and Shelley had a small farm in Shepherd. Tom and Shelley went on to have four beautiful children, Thomas Jr., Ty, Shiloh and Sarah. Tom moved his family in 1980 to Fairfield, MT to start farming out on the bench. Tom began working for Greenfield Irrigation District in 1981 as a welder and a fabricator, then moved into ditch-riding and machine operator. They eventually moved into town to be closer to work and the kids' school. Tom and Shelley later divorced.
Tom stayed in the Fairfield area to continue working for the irrigation district. His best memories working for GID was having local farmers stop by his house to visit about crops, weather and sports, all over a cup of coffee. Farmers on his ditch riding route would say, "Set your damns the night before, because Tom will turn your water on before you even get up." He enjoyed working on the major GID projects over the years. Many knew Tom as a friendly face, a kind person who would help out his neighbor and a storyteller.
In 2011, Tom retired from the Greenfield Irrigation District after working there for over thirty years. After retirement, he started work as a groundskeeper for St. Paul's and Dutton's cemeteries up until three years ago. Every summer, Tom would put in a large garden and would share his harvest with family and neighbors. He appreciated being outdoors and took many trips up into the mountains. Tom loved spending time teaching his children to hunt and fish. He would take the family camping every moment he could. Tom took great pride in attending his childrens' and grandchildrens' sporting events.
He is survived by his children Thomas (Tracy) Schwab Jr., Laurel, MT, Ty (Teri) Schwab Strausberg, CO, Shiloh (Mike) Seymour Chinook, MT and Sarah (Joe) Christensen Boise, ID, his brothers Arnie, Lloyd, and Dick Schwab, three aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins. Tom has thirteen grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Arnold and Florence Schwab, his brother Robert Schwab, maternal and paternal grandparents.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 19 at 1:00 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fairfield, MT. Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com