Tom Paton, 78, passed away on March 23, 2014, a profound loss for his family and countless friends.
A memorial service was held in Kingsport, Tenn., at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, where he was an active member.
Thomas Paton (VI) was born Nov. 1, 1935, in Erie, Pa. He was the first generation of the Paton family to be born in the United States.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Paton, a Scotsman, and Clara (Pennock) Paton, a Canadian. Tom was an only child, and he was the first Paton to graduate from high school and college. He attended Academy High School and was a 1960 graduate of Gannon College (now University) in Erie, Pa. He was a member and officer of the TKE fraternity, was an officer of his class, and was named in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. He grew up in the Methodist Church.
After college, he moved to Detroit, Mich., to begin his sales career with BF Goodrich. He married Marcia VanOosten in 1962. They had two children, Thomas and Heather.
The family relocated to the Kansas City suburbs in 1969. He worked in industrial sales with the Aeroquip and Rust-Oleum corporations.
He was an active family man and loved spending weekends at the family lake house. Tom and Marcia were married for 17 years, remaining lifelong friends.
In 1979, Tom moved to Pine Junction with his children and his faithful companion, Rusty, his beloved Irish setter. Making a major career change, he became the proud owner of the Bucksnort Saloon in 1982. Under Tom's tenure, the Bucksnort became a popular destination for locals and tourists. Numerous articles in newspapers, magazines and books featured him and his establishment. His favorite feathers in his cap included recognition as Best Mountain Bar and Best Burger in the annual Best of Denver feature. In his crowning moment, Tom was featured on the cover of a national magazine, Restaurant Business, in November 1993. While at the Bucksnort, he touched many lives as a mentor and friend.
In 1983, he married Gwen and gained the blessing of her three daughters, Kim, Jill and Jayne. He sold the Bucksnort in 1995, then entered into business with his wife as owners of two bed-and-breakfast establishments in Michigan and Virginia. They retired to Tennessee in 2007.
Tom was an extraordinary man. He loved unconditionally and was dearly loved. He exuded warmth and friendliness. He had a great sense of humor, and people just wanted to be around him. He valued the friendships he made everywhere he went and took the time to maintain those relationships. He was a man of great integrity, a man of his word, a man of God.
Tom enjoyed traveling, and especially loved the beauty of the mountains and the water: from racing hydroplanes on Lake Erie in his youth to boating on the lakes of the Midwest and cruising on the ocean and on the stream running behind the deck of the Bucksnort. He and his daughter Heather were also blessed to travel to Scotland together, exploring his roots and finding his father's childhood home.
Tom loved family and was a very special "Grampie," making memories to live on forever with many "Grampie" trips.
Tom is survived by his wife of 30 years, Gwen Paton; his children, Thomas G. Paton of Olathe, Kan., and Heather Paton Carpenter of Overland Park, Kan. We could not be more proud to be his children.
Other survivors are his grandsons, Austin Thomas and Spencer Carpenter of Overland Park, Kan., who loved their Grampie so very much; also his stepdaughters, Kim Hussey of Lakewood, Jill Hegardt of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jayne Gladwell of Conifer; his stepgrandchildren, who adored him, Katie, Analise, Brett and Breanne; and his great-stepgrandchildren, Hayden and Meaghan. Tom felt blessed and shared those blessings selflessly.
A celebration of life will be held June 29 from noon to 4 p.m. at Pine Vally Ranch Park in Pine.
Memorial contributions may be made to International Childcare Ministries, 770 N. High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. Contributions will benefit Bristol, a young man Tom has sponsored since 2002, and his family. A sponsorship will be maintained by his children, Tom and Heather, indefinitely.
Some people make the world special just by being in it. Tom Paton is and forever will be one of those people.