On August 24, 2020, Tom gave his life in a helicopter crash while fighting fires in Oregon.
Anyone who knew Tom knew he was larger than life, both in stature (6′ 10″) and in everything he did. When God opened a door, he didn’t walk; he ran.
Tom was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana. He attended Mount Ellis Elementary, Mount Ellis Academy, and then played basketball for the Bobcats at Montana State University. As a sophomore, Tom led the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots and the team in 3-point field goal percentage. He did this while missing half the conference games because, as a Seventh-day Adventist, Tom observed the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. Through that entire time, he kept God by his side and let Him lead wherever he needed to go. Tom was big, but God is bigger.
Tom was easy to like, with his big smile and infectious laugh. It was not uncommon to see Tom on the phone working through an employee’s personal life issue or talking to a new friend whom he met while working on his never-ending projects.
His dreams and aspirations were as big as he was. He built Excel Drilling from the ground up and not only made it into a very successful business but created another family of employees with relationships that will last a lifetime. He bought the Bozeman Hot Springs with dreams and an action plan already in place. The outside oasis at the hot springs is the realization of his dream because of his endless research, passion, grit, and drive to make a dream reality.
Even before all that, his family and friends were his world. His greatest accomplishment was being a father to his three beautiful children. His wife, Robyn, worked by his side for 18 years in every adventure he went on. His best friend was his father, who taught him to be the man that he was. For someone who didn’t like to talk, Tom never shied away from being there for his friends who became his brothers.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for another. John 15:13
He is survived by his wife, Robyn; children, Cohen (11), Sawyer (9), and Makenna (7); parents, Mark and Pam Duffy; sister and brother-in-law, Ashley and David Bowen; brother and sister-in-law, Tyler and Jackie Duffy; grandfather, Jack Larrabee, and his wife, Cathy; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.