Thomas Lee Uptgraft Sr., 51, of North Pole, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Tom was born in Columbia City, Ind., on Oct. 13, 1961.
He graduated from Central Noble High School in May 1981, and enlisted in the U.S. Army
as a medic in July 1981. He served his country honorably and served in Desert Storm/Shield and Iraqi Freedom. His awards and decorations include the Expert Field Medical Badge; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (4th Award); Army Achievement medal (7th Award); Army Good Conduct Medal (4th Award); NCO-Prof-Dev-Ribbon w/No. 3; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (5th Award); National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd Award); Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/M Device; Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/10 year Device. He was promoted to 1SG of 1984 USAH to close his army career of 30 plus years.
Tom met his wife, Nancy Powell, in Fort Knox, Ky., and they were married Aug. 17, 1982, in Radcliff, Ky. They renewed their wedding vows on Dec. 27, 2007. He and his family lived in Alaska for more than 14 years, and Tom killed his first black bear in Alaska.
His family said, "Because life is precious, it was very hard to let Tom go when the time came for him to depart this earth and go to heaven. 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' Psalm 116: 15. Tom was an honorable man, father, NCO and loving husband. He will be missed dearly. Go in peace my love."
Tom is survived by his wife, Nancy Uptgraft, of North Pole; daughter, Heather Uptgraft, of Fairbanks; sons, Sgt. Joshua Uptgraft, of Lawton, Okla., and Thomas L. Uptgraft Jr., of North Pole; mother, Leona Uptgraft, of Albion, Ind.; brothers, Doug Uptgraft, of Tacoma, Wash., Russell Uptgraft, of Albion, Ind. and Mark Uptgraft, of Albion, Ind.; sisters, Mary Herman of Cranston, R.I., Shirley Vonderan, of Fort Wayne, Ind. and Martha Hubber, of Churubusco, Ind.; granddaughters, Trinity, Zoe and Sydney of Lawton, Okla. and Katelyn Allison, of Fairbanks, and grandson, Mark Thomas, of Fairbanks.
He was preceded in death by his father, William Uptgraft; brother, Butch Earl Uptgraft, and son, Jeremy Uptgraft.
A military memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2012, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in North Pole. Pastor Amanda Kempthorne will officiate. A funeral will be held in Indiana this summer.
Memorial contributions can be made to the J. Michael Carroll Cancer Center, 1650 Cowles St., Fairbanks, AK 99701.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.