ROSE HILL — Thomas Jeffrey Willemsen, 55, of rural Rose Hill, died Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.
He was born Dec. 21, 1957, in Grinnell, the son of Raymond and Peggy McKibbin Willemsen. Tom was educated in the Grinnell School System until seventh grade, when the family moved to Oskaloosa. He graduated from Oskaloosa High School with the class of 1976. He furthered his education at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville and William Penn College in Oskaloosa. Following school, he purchased an acreage east of Oskaloosa, where he lived until the time of his death. Tom had several jobs off the farm throughout his life. He worked for a time at the Oil Fields in Oklahoma. He then went to work for Musco Moble as a lighting tech, a position that took him all over the world. After 15 years at Musco, he left and went to work at Pella Corporation for a year. Lastly, he worked for Bruce Smith’s hog operation. Tom had a love for the farm; he bought and sold cattle with his stepfather for many years. He was also a semi-driver. Not only was he a professional driver, he was also a mentor to many people on how to operate a semi. Tom was baptized in the Methodist Church in Kellogg and transferred his membership to Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa. Tom loved to garden, and he always had a bounty of goods to share. Early in life, he was member of the Boy Scouts. He was a talented artist and an avid outdoorsman. Tom will be remembered as a very kind, understanding and giving individual. He made friendships that lasted a lifetime. He had a soft spot in his heart for people and pets that needed a place to go. His home was always open to those who may have been down and out. Tom had his corneas donated to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank.
His family includes his mother, Peggy Klein of rural Oskaloosa; a sister and her husband, Ann and Vince Harned of rural Oskaloosa; nieces and nephews, Chris (Tiffany) Harned, Sarah (Jesse) Westaby, Jeff (Lisa) Harned and Tim Harned.
He was preceded in death by his father and his stepfather, Elmer Klein.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa; with Rev. Don DeGlopper officiating. There will be a family prayer service at 9:15 Saturday morning in the west wing of the church. Burial will be held at the Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell.. A procession will form at noon at the Central Reformed Church for those wishing to go to the cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Friday in the Bates Funeral Chapel with the family present from 5-7 p.m. to greet friends and relatives.
Memorials may be made to the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter.