Obituary for Thomas W. Ferverda


Thomas W. Ferverda

February 20, 1935 - February 6, 2021

Thomas W. Ferverda, 85, of Indianapolis, IN, formerly of Kokomo, passed away on Saturday, February 6, 2021, after a battle with the COVID-19 virus. Tom was born in Leesburg, IN, on February 20, 1935, to Dean and Dorothy (Loyd) Ferverda, who predeceased him. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 63 years, Susan Elaine Lephart Ferverda, daughters Lynn Elaine Claytor and Melissa Ferverda Miller (Thor) of Indianapolis, and Lori Jo Pizarek (Dan) of San Marcos, TX; grandchildren Joseph Senkovich, III (Kate), Kayley Senkovich, Steven Senkovich, and Ben Claytor (Kelsey Bartholomew), all of Florida; Thomas (Ellen) Pizarek of Austin, TX; Kurt Miller and Evan Miller of Indianapolis, and Grant Miller of Pensacola, FL; and great-grandson Dean Harold Pizarek of Austin, TX. His brother Robert D. (Nancy) Ferverda of Warsaw, IN, also survives.

Tom’s birth was unique, not because it was a home birth—that was common in the day—but because he was initially placed in the oven! It served as an incubator for him as he and his mother recovered from his difficult birth. Tom experienced a delightful childhood, growing up in Leesburg. He lived with his parents, brother Bob, and his grandparents Ira and Pearl (Frederickson) Ferverda. Tom was especially close to his Grandpa Ira, who was a disabled Spanish American War Veteran. His Granny Pearl was a nurse/midwife, whose first aid skills proved useful with two active grandsons! Ira and Pearl owned a hatchery in Leesburg. Tom’s dad Dean worked as a carpenter. Mother Dorothy worked at Leesburg Hardware and Leesburg Lumber.

Tom graduated from Leesburg High School in 1953. He spent his freshman year of college at Ball State Teachers College in Muncie, IN, on a Track Scholarship before transferring to Indiana University-Bloomington, where he graduated with a Business Administration degree in 1957. Throughout his life, Tom treasured his friendships with his Theta Chi fraternity brothers.

Tom and Susan married in early 1957 while students at IU. After graduation, they settled in Kokomo, where Tom began his career with Delco Electronics. Tom held 23 jobs at Delco over the course of 35 years. He began his career as an Accounting Clerk and he retired from the position of Personnel Manager in 1993.

Tom was dedicated to a number of volunteer and civic activities. Highlights include serving Howard County as a Councilman, and as a member of the Welfare Board and Library Board. Tom was a Master Mason and held membership in Kosciusko Masonic Lodge 418 for 64 years. He was also a member of the Kokomo Y’s Men. The Ferverda girls fondly remember helping their dad at the annual Y’s Men Christmas Tree Lot.  After retiring from Delco, Tom worked for the BMV teaching Defensive & Mature Driving courses, and he volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital.

Tom excelled at Track in high school and college. Though a broken ankle at IU ended his athletic career, his love of sports continued. For over 20 years, Tom served as an IHSAA Track Official throughout Central Indiana. Later, he officiated NCAA meets throughout Central Indiana, gradually concentrating on officiating for his alma mater, Indiana University. In Indianapolis, Tom officiated for USA Track & Field Association during the Pan Am Games, the Police & Fire Games, and various National and Olympic qualifying meets. In 1996, the NCAA named Tom as IU’s NCAA Track Official of the Year. In 1997, he was named Track Official of the Year for the State of Indiana by the United States Track & Field Association.

After Susan retired from teaching elementary school in 1995, the Ferverdas moved to Indianapolis. Both volunteered at the Pres. Benjamin Harrison Home, and Tom joined the Downtown Indy Sertoma Club. Tom often volunteered at Christ the King School, where 3 of his grandsons attended. He especially loved working as a Track Official for the school’s track meets. Tom delighted in living on the canal near Broad Ripple, where he taught his grandchildren to fish, catch turtles and snakes, and to love nature. Not only was Tom a wonderful father, he was the best grandpa any child could wish for.

Tom was known for his great smile and his kindness. In recent years, a number of people have shared with the family how Tom’s encouraging words and advice positively impacted the course of their lives.

The family thanks the wonderful people of Anthology Senior Living, Grace-At-Home, and Brookdale Hospice for the excellent care given to Tom over the past year and a half. While we are grateful to them all, we especially want to recognize and thank Quinton Young and Paula Mathews for their loving and consistent care.

Tom, a life-long Methodist, will be laid to rest in Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson, IN, at a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that you share some small kindness with the world in his honor.

Debbie Reeder posted on February 28, 2021

Mr. Ferverda was always very kind to me. I lived in the same neighborhood in Kokomo, and when my father passed away, he told if I needed help with anything to give him a call. He was also a friend of my parents (Dick and Becky Lavengood). Such a sweet man, and I know you have many fond memories. Prayers to all.

Rev Kristine Eggert posted on February 17, 2021

I had the privilege of being Tom and Susan's pastor for several years at Northwood Christian Church. And while pastors are not supposed to have "favorites" in their congregation, I was drawn to Tom and Susan from the moment I met them. Their warmth and hospitality were shown to me in numerous ways, and I will always remember them fondly. After reading this lovely tribute, it's clear that I was not the only person drawn to Tom and his smile and kindness. The world was quite simply a better place with him in it. Our prayers for Susan moving forward in life without him -- may she always know how completely she was loved in her marriage. And our prayers for the entire family with blessings on your wonderful memories of such a special dad and grandpa. Rev. Kris Eggert Cleveland, OH

Rob Godschall posted on February 16, 2021

Today I was saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Ferverda which I read about on His passing brought back many good memories of time spent with him in my childhood. The Ferverda family lived across the street from my family in Kokomo in a beautiful house whose landscaping was always well-maintained due to his continual efforts. He was always “Mr. Ferverda” to me. A man to be admired. A man who was a positive role model. A man of faith. For the most part, I remember his kindness, his smile and his generosity in all endeavors. Occasionally, I would walk over to his home and chat with him while he performed yardwork, discussing sports or current events or whatever else was going on at the time. You see, he and “Mrs. Ferverda” were the cool, attractive parents in the neighborhood that everybody liked. Never once do I remember him not making time for me despite his chores. His sense of humor and his outgoing, optimistic personality were always appealing to me. I recall one of his favorite expressions was “by golly!”, spoken with affirmation or encouragement to something positive I had done or just reinforcing his positive outlook on life. I also remember the Ferverda family organizing several neighborhood parties on the 4th of July in their front yard. We set up tables on their long driveway and grills in the court next to their house. Ever family who attended brought food to share and meat to grill. We played basketball at the hoop in the court and engaged in various games like three-legged races. It was there that Mr. Ferverda introduced me to one of his favorite beverages – Dr. Pepper which was chilling on ice in big, 16 ounce, glass bottles in a metal tub on their driveway. Better than Cherry Coke, I thought. However, I’m sure he consumed the sugary beverage in moderation as he was always physically fit. Those are just some of the good memories of Mr. Ferverda that return my mind from our time together in the 1970s. I’m sure many others will come back to me in the days ahead as his way of touching my life. My condolences and prayers go out to his family: “Mrs. Ferverda”, Lynn, Lori and Melissa. I’m sure they are all heartbroken, but are also celebrating his life and many achievements. He enriched everyone’s life with optimism and encouragement. To me, that is his legacy. Well done, Mr. Ferverda. Thank you for the meaningful life lessons you shared and your kindness. Peace be with you all.

Matt McKillip posted on February 14, 2021

My prayers to the entire Ferverda family. Mr. Ferverda was part of the big neighborhood that helped raise us. I will remember how joy filled he always was and how willing he was to stop what he was doing to talk with us, help us and share his advice with us. I will gladly share some kindness this week to honor this fine man. May he rest in joy in heaven.

Ron Barsh posted on February 14, 2021

Friend, neighbor, track meet starter, and a truly wonderful person. Tom was such a great mentor to me as AD at Kokomo to help with our big meets. He was so good at working with kids and helping them develop a love of track that he had. He had such an impact on all that he came in contact with. I will miss him greatly. Ron and Pam Barsh

Lorie Schmidt posted on February 13, 2021

Mr. Ferverda was always extremely hospitable, warm, and welcoming to friends of his children who visited their home, creating happy memories for all involved. He will definitely be sorely missed. Our deepest condolences to the family.

Tim Claytor posted on February 13, 2021

Never a finer Man that I have met in my life and a great grandfather as “Granpa Tom” ......... the world will miss Tom and we need more people like him.


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