Thomas Edward Devereaux, 84, of Hayward, passed away June 1, 2021, with dignity in home hospice care, surrounded by loved ones.
He was born May 7, 1937, in Milwaukee. He attended eight grades at Holy Redeemer grade school, then went on to what was then Boys Trade and Technical High School. He graduated with both a high school and trade school diploma was elected student council president, senior class president and a member of the National Honor Society. Tom served three years from 1955 to 1958 with the 126th FINCEPTRON of the Wisconsin Air National Guard and the reserve of the U.S. Air Force. On Sept. 28, 1957, he married Joan L. Smerlinski at Okauchee, Wisconsin. During those years he worked as a licensed journeyman plumber in the greater Milwaukee area.
They moved to Rhinelander in 1962 and purchased a home on Moen Lake, as work as an installing plumber continued. By 1965 their family included four wonderful children. In 1966 Tom wrote exams and became a licensed master plumber. Later that year the family moved to Madison, where he had accepted employment as a state plumbing plan reviewer with the Department of Health.
In 1969 he left state employ and began working as a plumbing system designer with a consulting engineering firm. A year later the firm transferred him to their office Minneapolis. While there the family enjoyed living in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
The family returned to the Rhinelander area in 1973 and settled in Sugar Camp, where they purchased a home on Indian Lake. Tom worked for Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating until 1976.
They then decided it was time to start a plumbing business of their own. Together they began Devereaux Inc. Plumbing and Heating in 1976, operating the business until the fall of 1999. Tom returned that fall to work for the Department of Commerce once again as a state plumbing plan reviewer assigned to the department’s Hayward Regional Office, which meant commuting on a regular basis.
Joan L. Devereaux, Tom’s wife of 50 years, died Feb. 2, 2008. This would find him relocating to Hayward in June of 2008. On June 24, 2016, Tom retired from state service. Although he would be hired for part time work, he finally ended his career in the spring of 2018.
Tom enjoyed hunting, archery, fishing, singing along with Joan and playing the guitar at church and campfires with friends. He was active in the Sugar Camp Lions Club for over 20 years and recently became a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a good friend and steady role model to countless people, consistently providing them with praise and encouragement. His favorite sayings were, “God Bless” and “Life Is Good.”
He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard F. and Ora A. Devereaux; his older brother, Lawrence; his wife of 50 years, Joan L. Devereaux (nee Smerlinski); and his sisters, Barbara Tillema and Susan Holweck.
He is survived by his four children, Denise (Mark) Martalock, Joseph (Barbara) Devereaux, Lisa (Shaun) Phay and Charles (Cyndy) Devereaux; his nine grandchildren, Nelson, Dedra, Maxwell, Jessica, Cydney, Isabella, Charley, Adrian and Anna, two great-grandchildren, Elaina and Ella; his brother, Vincent, of Texas; many, many beloved nieces and nephews; and his very dear friend, Elizabeth Staib of Hayward.
A mass at St. Kunegunda at Sugar Camp, Wisconsin, and celebration of his life will be held in the fall of 2021, with those details to follow.