He was born May 17, 1918, in Prairie Creek, Ind., the son of Emmett and Lenora McClanahan Farris.
He graduated from Honey Creek High School in 1936. He was drafted into the Army at Ft. Benjamin Harrison on Feb. 9, 1942. His basic training was at Ft. Leonardwood, Mo.
He attended and graduated First Army Engineer School at Ft. Belvior, Va., Then assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 131st Combat Engineer Battalion at Camp Shelby, Miss., then Ft. Polk, La., Ft. Oard, Calif., then to Camp Stoneman, Calif. From here, he went to New Calidonia, Guadacanal, New Georgia, Bouganville.
He was honored to be chosen flag bearer (out of 2,000 troops at the island) at the Victory in Europe Paradeon Bouganville Island. He also went to New Britain, Green, New Guenia, Mindaneo and Luson in the Phillipines. When the war was over, he returned to Camp Stoneman, Calif., and from there to Camp Atterbury, Ind., where he was discharged on Nov. 28, 1945.
He met Mary Lou Hipkiss on Dec. 1, 1945, after a short courtship they were married April 21, 1946. He worked at Commercial Solvents a short time. Then he joined the Plumbers and Steamfitters of America Local Union 157.
Tom's nephew, George Robertson, came to live with them when he was 12-years-old. He joined the Navy when he was 20-years-old.
Tom and Mary Lou bought a small farm in Nevins Township where they now live. They took an active part in Boys Scouts and 4-H with their children.
He served on the Vigo County 4-H Council for several years. He was Superintendent of the Vigo County Sheep Barn for several years. He served on the School Board Advisory Council.
They joined the Swinging Mates Square Dance Club and were members for more than 30 years. They were members of the Clay County Pleasure Riders Saddle Club for several years. He is a member of the American Legion Post 2 in Brazil. They were active with their grandsons Horse and Pony 4-H project.
They retired in 1980 and spent time traveling and visiting friends and family in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Canada. Being interested in Genealogy, they have traced Tom's family back to 1662 when Ian Isom Farris arrived at the Albermarle Colony in North Carolina in 1662. They have also traced the Hipkiss family back to 1879 when William Hipkiss and his wife Mary Ann Clark came to Allegeny County Pennsylvania from England.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Edgar, Robert and William, sisters Pauline Robertson, Wanda Liggett, Waneta Farris and Beulah Farris.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years Mary Lou Farris, son Robert T. Farris and wife Becky, Elizabeth City, N.C., daughter Kathy Thompson and husband Dave, Brazil, granddaughter Shelly Farris Houser and husband Steve, Kinston, N.C., grandsons Ryan Swearingen and wife Jennifer, Brazil, Danny Swearingen and wife Ashley, Terre haute, great-grandchildren Brandon Noyes, Brooks Houser, Zachary Swearingen, Luke Swearingen and Ava Rose Swearingen, brother Kenneth Farris, many nieces, nephews and extended family.
Funeral services will take place Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008, at 1 p.m., at Lawson-Miller Chapel, with Pastor Lyle Monnett and Steve Brattain officiating. Burial will follow in Roselawn Memorial Park, Terre Haute. Visitation will be Friday from 4-8 p.m., and prior to services Saturday.