Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Tom L. Lanham

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Tom L. Lanham, 70, was one of the kindest, most humble souls you'll ever have known. Tom unexpectedly said goodbye and went to be with the Lord with his wife, Becky, and their children by his side on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Two days before Tom's passing, he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart as his Lord and Savior.

Thomas "Tom" Lee Lanham was born to Raymond and Mary Lanham on Feb. 5, 1951, in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1969, then went on to become a journeyman plasterer for more than 40 years and was a member of the Illinois Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' Local Union 18 and retired his career in Indiana Local Union 692. During Tom's career, he mentored young men that desired to learn the trade by leading an apprenticeship.

Tom was such a hard worker, even after retirement, he never stopped working on projects, things around the house, or helping neighbors, family and friends. That was who Tom was - always dedicating his time and energy to teaching others and selflessly doing good things for others. Everyone knew that when Tom gave of his time, he did it with all his heart and soul, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

Tom loved anything outdoors. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, enjoyed camping and spent many years raising dogs, not only to train for hunting, but they were his companions, always by his side. Anyone who knew Tom, knew that he loved all animals, especially his dogs. In the last three decades, his dogs, Holly and Ebby (preceded in death) and Lilly, his last living love of his life Labrador, were central to Tom's life. He loved them like his own kids. They went everywhere and did everything with him and Tom would rarely go anywhere that he could not take his dog.

Tom truly enjoyed and looked forward to family and friends coming to visit and gathering at the cabin. He enjoyed sitting around the fire, sharing great stories with lots of laughter and even enjoyed an occasional drink to toast to his love for life, family and friends. Tom was known by all as one of the most caring, compassionate, loving, selfless and humble men they've ever known. He never complained, even when he was sick, he would say, "oh, I'm fine" so as not to make others worry. Tom would sacrifice his needs for others, literally giving the shirt off his back without a second thought. Shirley, his sister, shared that Tom spent an entire week with her after she lost her husband, to provide love and comfort to her, despite him having a full-time job and other obligations. Tom was truly a family man and a man of many great interesting stories that would captivate everyone that listened. He laughed and made us all laugh, a lot!

Tom knew so much about everything and it seemed that there was nothing he didn't know. He was always there to listen when anyone, even when strangers needed it and he willingly offered advice to help. As family and friends would come to visit, Tom was a great "concierge." There was no one that could provide more knowledge and advice about where to go and what to do for adventure than Tom. He led a very adventurous life and was sure to take along those who came to visit on hikes to waterfalls, ski slopes and all around to share in the beauty of nature he so cherished. He willingly went out of his way to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves.

Tom will be deeply missed by his wife of nearly 40 years, Becky; five children, Susie Kelly, Bill (Darla) Rose, Julie (Ted) Melvin, Diane (Jerry) Hufford and Angie Rose; 12 grandchildren, William, Cory, Walker, Mason, Hunter, Lauren, Michael, Dustin, Cody, Kyle, Bret and Katelynn; two sisters, Shirley Vinson and Jean Myers; his brother-in-law, Leo Parks; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Terry (Bev) Zeller, Bobby (Linda) Zeller, Mary Lou (Duane) Bowald, David (Jan) Zeller, Tommy Zeller, Danny (Julie) Zeller and Bethann (Dan) Elser; and many nieces and nephews, too many to count. Tom was loved by so many friends and family. To know Tom, was truly to love Tom.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters and a brother-in-law, Carol (Patrick) Parks and Linda Parks.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m., preceded by visitation at 2 p.m., at the Wakefield United Methodist Church, 706 Putnam St., in Wakefield. The Revs. Keith Mullikin and Ted Trudgeon will officiate.

To send a flower arrangement or plant a tree, or consider doing something kind in memory of Thomas L. Lanham, please visit

Arrangements are entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield.