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Walter Thomas “Tom” Harris
November 8, 1943 – March 9, 2019
Tom passed away from complications of a stroke at the age of 75 on March 9, 2019 surrounded by his children and loved ones. He was born on November 8, 1943 in Provo, Utah to Thomas Edgar and Beth Shoell Harris. He was the first born of the three Harris brothers. He graduated from Pleasant Grove High School in 1962 and then attended BYU.
Tom married Sheryl Hansen in 1964 and they had five children: Keri, Cindy, Ryan, Wendee and Chris. The Harris Family was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1969. After 32 years of marriage they divorced. Tom and Lynn Christensen had a daughter, Jena, and remained close friends for the rest of his life.
Tom started his work history with Art, Tile and Terrazzo. He installed the terrazzo tile world globe in the 70s at the Salt Lake International Airport, Terminal 1 and he’s always been proud that it is still there today. Tom then opened and owned a Chevron service station in Rose Park. After Chevron, he owned and operated several automotive repair shops and towing companies known as Tom’s Automotive & Towing and TNT Auto Clinic in Salt Lake City, and Tom’s Auto, Truck & Marine in Bountiful. He ended his mechanical career working for, and retiring from, Geneva Rock. He continued to tow and plow snow for several years after retirement.
Tom loved fast cars, trucks, country music, rodeos and old western movies. His passions were riding his Arabian horse, hunting in the Uinta Mountains and fishing at Strawberry Reservoir. He loved a good medium-rare steak, Coca Cola, mixed nuts and seasoned all his food with lots of pepper and hot sauce. He was a great bowler and played on several leagues in his younger years. He thought he was hilarious and always joked and teased people from waitresses to the nurses that treated him in his final months. One never knew when to take him seriously. He was a great auto mechanic but was not tech savvy as he never used the internet and his phone was a flip phone. He always enjoyed telling a good tow recovery story and had the memory of an elephant.
In the early 70s, Tom was the only survivor of three in a small Cessna airplane crash in the mountains east of Fairview in Sanpete County while spotting elk. After regaining consciousness outside the wreckage, he was able to walk off the mountain to seek help. The pilot died instantly and by the time the rescuers found the crash site, Tom’s friend was also deceased.
If you’ve ever passed a blue tow truck going 55 mph in the fast lane or stopped on I-15 picking up things that fell off vehicles, it was him. Tom respected high-quality Snap-on tools. If Snap-on made a casket, that’s what he would have wanted to be laid to rest in, as he loved and collected all things Snap-On. He didn’t dislike many things, but low-quality tools and yard work were two at the top of his list. He could grow a beautiful vegetable garden and loved reaping the benefits.
He is survived by his six children: Keri (Oliver) Jelitto, Cindy (Rick) Maxfield, Ryan (Kanoni) Harris, Wendee (John) Christoffersen, Chris (Nikki) Harris and Jena Christensen (fiancé Tyson); Lynn and Barbara Christensen (beloved friend & daughter); mother: Beth Carter; brothers: Cecil Harris, Jerry (Sheryl) Harris and Mike (Dorothy) Carter; sister: Leann (Darrell) Hayes; sixteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his father and step-mother, Thomas (Elise) Harris, step-father Ed Carter and his grandparents.
The family would like to thank the AirMed flight crew and staff in the Neuro Critical Care Unit and Inpatient Rehab Center at the University of Utah Hospital for their professional medical care of dad for three weeks. We would also like to thank the staff in the Intensive Care Unit at McKay-Dee Hospital for their compassionate care of both him and our family in his last hours.
A Viewing will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 from 6-8 pm and Wednesday, March 20 from 9:30-10:30 am at Lindquist’s Bountiful Mortuary, 727 N. 400 E. Bountiful, UT. where funeral services will follow at 11:00 am. Interment in Bountiful City Cemetery.