Obituary: Thomas Devereaux
Thomas E. Devereaux, age 84 of Hayward, passed away Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at his home.
Thomas Edward Devereaux was born May 7, 1937, in Milwaukee, the son of Howard and Ora (Richter) Deveraux. Tom attended eight grades at Holy Redeemer grade school and went on to (then) Boys’ Trade and Technical High School. He graduated with both a high school and trade school diploma and was elected Student Council President, Senior Class President, and member of the National Honor Society.
Tom served three years, 1955 through 1958, with the 126th FINCEPTRON of the Wisconsin Air National Guard and reserve of the U.S. Air Force.
On Sept. 28, 1957, he married Joan L. Smerlinski in Okauchee, Wisc. During those years he worked as Licensed Journeyman Plumber in the greater Milwaukee area. Tom and Joan moved to Rhinelander in 1962 and purchased a home on Moen Lake, as work as an installing plumber continued. By 1965 their family now included four wonderful children. In 1966, Tom wrote exams and became a licensed master plumber. Later that year the family moved to Madison, where he had accepted employment as a state plumbing plan reviewer with the Department of Health. Tom left state employment in 1969 and began working as a plumbing system designer with a consulting engineering firm. A year later the firm transferred him to their office in Minneapolis. While there, the family enjoyed living in Coon Rapids. The family returned to the Rhinelander area in 1973 and settled in Sugar Camp, where they purchased a home on Indian Lake.
Tom worked for Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating until 1976. They then decided it was time to start a plumbing business of their own. Together, Tom and Joan began Devereaux Inc. Plumbing and Heating in 1976. They operated the business until fall 1999. Tom returned that fall to work for the Department of Commerce once again as a state plumbing plan reviewer assigned to the department’s Hayward regional office, which meant commuting on a regular basis. Joan L. Devereaux, Tom’s wife of 50 years, died Feb. 2, 2008; he relocated to Hayward in June 2008. On June 24, 2016, Tom retired from state service. Although he would be hired for part time work, he finally ended his career in the spring of 2018.
Tom enjoyed hunting, archery, fishing, singing along with Joan and playing the guitar at church and campfires with friends. He was active in the Sugar Camp Lions Club for over 20 years and recently became a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a good friend and steady role model to countless people; consistently providing them with praise and encouragement. His favorite sayings were, “God Bless” and “Life Is Good.” Tom passed with dignity in home hospice care surrounded by loved ones.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Howard F. and Ora A. Devereaux; his older brother, Lawrence; his wife of 50 years, Joan L. Devereaux; his sisters, Barbara Tillema and Susan Holweck.
He is survived by his four children, Denise (Mark) Martalock, Joseph (Barbara) Devereaux, Lisa (Shaun) Phay and Charles (Cyndy) Devereaux; one brother, Vincent of Texas; nine grandchildren, Nelson, Dedra, Maxwell, Jessica, Cydney, Isabella, Charley, Adrian, and Anna; two great-grandchildren, Elaina and Ella; and many, many beloved nieces, and nephews; and a very dear friend, Elizabeth Staib of Hayward.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Tom this fall at St. Kunegunda Catholic Church in Sugar Camp. Interment will be in the St. Kunegunda Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Wounded Warrior Project.