Thomas Lawrence Henrich was born on December 29, 1959, to Lawrence and Rita Henrich of Maple River, Iowa. Tom grew up in Maple River and, on April 27, 1985, was united in marriage to Deb Tremel of Earling, Iowa. Tom and Deb had four children, Ashley, Amber, Ryan, and William. They raised their family in Earling, and Tom became a member of Earling Volunteer Fire and Rescue in 1987. Tom was the fire chief from 2008 until the day of his death. He was also an EMT and CPR/first aid instructor.
Tom was a family man and did a lot for his wife, children, and grandchild. Tom could fix almost anything and was a mechanic for most of his life and owner of Tom’s Repair. He enjoyed camping, fishing, playing cards, garage sales, and NASCAR racing. He lived in fire department shirts and would be seen in them at most events and outings. He referred to his fellow firemen as his “brothers” and would stop by various fire stations to support their fundraisers.
Tom loved the fire department. No matter what time of day or night, when the pager went off, he would dress quickly and run out the door. He loved helping others and would sacrifice time with his family for someone in need. Tom was very proud of his role in the Earling Volunteer Fire and Rescue. He went to Parkersburg, which was one of the most meaningful parts of his role in the fire department. He poured his heart and soul into his volunteer work. He left many family functions and could never be “parked in” in case he had a call that he needed to respond to. The fire department was his second family, and he took his role seriously.
On October 20, 2018, Tom responded to a combine fire outside of Earling, where he suffered a medical event and died at the hospital that afternoon. He was 59 years old. He is survived by his wife, Deb Henrich, of Earling; his children, Ashley Brandon of Earling, Amber and Matt Rathert of Ankeny, Iowa, Ryan Henrich of Earling, William Henrich of New Berlin, Wisconsin; and one grandchild, Jensen Brandon.
One piece of advice he instilled into his children is that if you don’t have anything else in life, then you have your family. Family, to him, is more than blood; it is the people in your life that matter the most.