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Thomas Berne Friend


1929 - 2020
Thomas Berne Friend Obituary

THOMAS BERNE FRIEND, of Sutton, joined his Heavenly Father early on the morning of January 20, 2020, at the age of 90.
He was born on September 4, 1929, on Little Buffalo Creek in Braxton County and remained a resident of the County his entire life. He was the son of Opha and Nellie Friend. When he was a small child, the family, including his sisters, Jean (Sands), Helen (Mollohan), Maxine (Arnold/Samples) and brother, Bill, moved to Stewart Addition in Gassaway. Growing up on the banks of the Elk River, Tom became an avid fisherman and even built several wooden boats for his personal use. The sight of him navigating the Elk River was legendary.
He also enjoyed "tinkering" and honed his mechanical skills into a lifelong career of fixing things where he earned the distinction of Master Mechanic. He was a member of The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 132, Charleston, and worked on a variety of construction projects around the State.
Toward the end of his career, he was finally able to travel to work daily from his home in Braxton County when he went to work for Oneida Coal Company. He retired from there in 1990.
The year 1951 was a momentous one in Tom's life. He married a widow, Veda Dean McCoy, and became father to her toddler son, Roger. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed immediately to Korea where he served his Country honorably. Before the end of the year, his son, Tommy, was born. The remainder of his life was dedicated to his family, his faith, his love for his companion dogs and his desire to aid others.
In 2010, he was named Volunteer of the Year by the Central WV Outreach Center. Tom was a member of the Engel Chapel Church in Stewart Addition.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Roger; great-grandson, Samuel; and three siblings.
He is survived by his son, Tom and wife Ellen; daughter-in-law, Mary; grandchildren, Dale, Libby and Erica; seven great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and sister, Jean.
A celebration of Tom's life will be held Friday, January 24, at the Roach Funeral Home in Gassaway. From noon until 2 p.m., there will be visitation with the family, followed by a service led by Rev. Chris Cantrell, Rev. Daniel Arnold and Pastor Tom Harper. The American Legion Post #33 will conduct military burial rites at the Morrison Ridge Cemetery on Airport Road, Sutton, afterwards.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staffs of the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg and the Senior Services Center in Sutton for their care, compassion and assistance in meeting Tom's needs. They especially appreciate the kindness and love given by Carla Duffield.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be sent to his church, Engel Chapel Community Church, c/o Helen Hacker, 236 Pine Street, Gassaway, WV 26624 or to American Legion Post #33, P.O. Box 137, Sutton, WV 26601.
Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family at www.roachfuneralhome.com.
Published in Charleston Gazette-Mail on Jan. 23, 2020
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