Thomas Edward McElherne died on August 27, 2020 after a brave battle with Leukemia. A graveside service will be Saturday, September 26, 2020, 10:00 a.m., at Ames Municipal Cemetery with a Celebration of Life to follow from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at Brookside Park in Ames, IA.
He was born on April 17, 1925 in Faribault, Minnesota to James and Regina (Brauer) McElherne. The youngest of three boys, he spent his early childhood in Red Oak before moving to Ames where he finished high school. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and as a Sergeant, served as the engineer and gunner on a B-17. On his 23rd mission he was shot down and spent the last months in a German Prisoner of War camp. He returned to Ames, enrolled in Iowa State University, and earned a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering. He started a career with the Iowa Highway Commission, later called the Iowa Department of Transportation. He served in county offices and ended in Ames at headquarters where he held many senior engineering positions.
He married Bonnie Clauson on September 4, 1948 and had two children Jennifer and James. Bonnie died of cancer in 1972. Tom married Frances Ryerson in October 1973 and as a blended family added five children, Janice, Robert, Jean, Michael, and Marlene. It was a testament to him that he earned their love and admiration and was always called Dad. He was known for sending each of his new grand and great grandchildren a welcoming letter to the "clan."
Tom was a very social and lovable man who made life-long friends. He loved to play cards and golf and served as the second President of the Ballard Golf and Country Club. He wintered in Destin, Florida for many years where his Canadian friends called him Tommy. An active member of the 388th Bomber Group and the Iowa POW chapter, Tom helped and served in many positions and was active in his Presbyterian faith.
He was preceded in death by his parents James and Regina, his brothers James and Paul. He is survived by seven children, Jennifer Voorhees of West Des Moines, James McElherne of Las Vegas Nevada, Janice Froning of Ogden, Robert Ryerson of Ames, Jean Ryerson of Kansas City, Missouri, Michael Ryerson of West Des Moines and Marlene Veland of Waynesboro, Tennessee, and sister-in-law Nancy Clauson Gephardt of Long Island, New York. He had 19 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. A burial service and celebration of life are being scheduled for later in September in Ames. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Northminster Presbyterian Church of Ames, Iowa.
Online Condolences may be directed to www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com
I knew Tom from his days wintering in Destin. Socializing with this man was delightful. He was always a gentleman and and had a sharp mind. It was an honor to know him. My sympathy to all his family for their loss.
I met Tom while spending our time at Gulfview to avoid the coldest months of the North. I enjoyed
the time together hearing of his life experiences, especially time he served as a patriot in service
for our country. a good man with good principles. Our Sympathy to Family and the Memories he made.
Wayne and Carol Briggs
Jenny and Bob and all of you....in that year of caring for Tom after his knee injury, he became a dear friend. We kept in touch sporadically after that, and it was always "a good day" when we had had a chance to visit, in person or on the phone. What a splendid gentleman! I am fortunate to have known him, and treasure his memory. Miriam "Mim" Patterson
It was our pleasure to get to know Tom after he joined the Ryerson family; he was a wonderful man. Our deepest sympathy to the entire family for your loss. Bonnie & Larry Trede
Jenny and family - so very sorry about the loss of your father. You always spoke fondly of him. Keep your memories close to your heart and he will always be with you.
Beverly Allen Zylstra
I have many good memories of Tom. The Clausons were my backyard neighbors in Ames and Nancy and I have been life long friends. During Nancy's visits to see Tom, I would often travel to Ames and enjoy time with both of them. A nice memory for me is when I had lunch with Nancy and Tom last Fall. Tom was such a nice and kind man. My sympathy to the family. With love, Marna Adams Stevens
So very sorry for your loss of a wonderful family man. Our sympathies. Steve and Peggy Bruns
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Ames, IA 50010
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Ames, IA, United States 50010
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