Thomas L. Drane, 63, of Fort Smith died Monday, Sept. 15, 2008.
He was a security guard for the Fort Smith Regional Landfill and a member of West-Ark Church of Christ.
He is survived by four sons, Abraham Drane of Muldrow, Peter, Isaac and Timothy Drane, all of Rudy; and six grandchildren.
What follows is a collection of memories from a church family that appreciated Tom very much. He was our neighbor, but he very quickly became our brother.
Tom wasnt a part of this church family for very long but we came to know him ... We knew that he loved oranges and Dr. Pepper. We knew that he served his country in the U.S. Navy. We knew that he loved his wife and missed her very much. We knew that he loved his sons.
We knew that he loved to study the Bible and had a thankful heart. We knew that he cared about everyone without regard to their status. We knew he was our friend. We knew that he was Gods friend.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
From the West-Ark Church of Christ
Tom was never without a sense of humor and encouraging word.
I haven't been at West-Ark long enough to know Tom well. But, I will always remember his warm handshakes on Sunday mornings.
Tom befriended Daniel and me and always seemed to find us and say hello. He would tease us, and ask me if Daniel was being a good husband and ask Daniel if I was being a good wife. Tom encouraged us to keep on loving each other and growing closer together in his humorous way. He was joyful amid his physical ailments, and I never heard him complain.
I will miss seeing Tom on Sundays. I will miss him checking up on us, and I'll even miss his teasing. :-)
Tom was a wonderful person, with a tremendous heart. He always had a smile, a laugh or a word of encouragement for those around him. I will certainly remember my friendship with Tom. May God richly bless his family during this time of grief.
Tom was never without his smile. He was always ready to shake your hand, talk and share some laughter. I look forward to seeing him again in our Lord's kingdom.
Tom was such an example to our family. He impressed us with his love for his church family and his encouraging spirit. There were no strangers to Tom. He had a kind word and a smile to offer everyone. We learned most from his example of great effort and sacrifice to participate in worship with his church family. He made God his priority. No matter the weather, he endured it to worship his God and to fellowship with his brothers. We admired his commitment and dedication. The foyer will not be the same without him. He will be missed by all of us.
With our sympathy,
Tom was always positive and he always took time to talk to the kids.
Tom was my friend the first time I talked with him. I noticed he loved Dr. Pepper, and I made a big deal of calling him Mr. Dr. Pepper and making sure he always had one. He loved it.
I know he didn't feel well, but he didn't complain to me. He always had a positive thing to say, a smile, a handshake. There is a lesson there for all of us. I will miss seeing him and being able to say hello, but I know he is free from a body that was plagued with problems, free to rest until that day when Jesus calls us all home.
Sleep well, brother.
I have been greatly blessed to have had this past year as Tom's friend. When he wasn't at church on those Sundays I was able to attend I missed his ready smile, the radiance that he showed. I knew that no matter what he was going through that he always looked for the best in the situation and had an encouraging word for those around. I will miss his presence but know that his spirit will still be felt in our church and in the lives of those he touched. Farewell my friend until we meet on that golden shore.
When Tom was in Sparks hospital earlier this year, I went to visit him and while I was there asked him if there was anything that I could do for him. He said he would like a book so that people could sign or leave him a note if he was not in his room. He also wanted Dr. Pepper. Later that day, I came back with Dr. Pepper and his notebook, and he was so grateful. While I visited with him, he paged the nurses' station. She came in and asked what he would like. Tom said, "Last night I had a really good ice cream bar, and I would like another one, please." She came back and showed him two different kinds, and asked which one he would like. Tom (just like him) said, "I'll take them both!"
I met Tom while I was cooking for The Way. He loved to come to dinner before he went to the services. If you asked him how he was he ALWAYS had something positive to say. He would always remind you how God knew what we needed and we shouldn't complain about it. It didn't matter if it was the weather, his health, the economy, or just life in general, God always took care of everything and everything would work out. The power of positive thinking. My life was enriched just by knowing him and I will certainly miss him. I never knew anyone who loved Dr. Pepper, cantaloupe, or life better than Tom!!
Salt and pepper. That's what Tom used to say when he saw me. Although I don't remember exactly how it got started, it basically had to do with our "salt and pepper" hair (some call it gray!).
Tom always seemed to be in such good spirits and was almost always teasing and smiling. I had to wonder how he kept such a good outlook. It was obvious that he liked being around people. Whenever I caught his eye, that glint would start up in his eyes and the mouth would start twitching -- I knew that he was about to launch some comment or tease my way. He never failed to make me feel that he was truly glad to see me.
The last time I saw Tom was at the Canfields for the ice cream social. He was quiet and not his usual self. We talked for awhile and he cried and we hugged. I'm so glad we did.
I know almost nothing about Tom's situation or condition. What I know is that he was joyful and that I enjoyed talking with him. And I feel lightened to think of his freedom now.
Tom impressed us with his concern for others and his ever-present pleasant attitude. We delivered some items to him which we hoped he would be able to use. He called the next day saying they didn't work for him, but he had made friends with someone at Legacy who had a like need and those items would work great for that person. Could he just give them to him? He was so pleased to be able to help his new friend. Jim was in the Tuesday morning Men's Bible class with Tom. They never left their class that he didn't tell Jim how much he enjoyed being there. Even on those days when he didn't feel well, he had a big smile as he greeted everyone. That was a tremendous encouragement to others. We will miss our friend, Tom.
Helen & Jim Pratt
My first thought upon hearing of Tom's death was "I didn't get to say good-bye."
My second thought was of the man in Acts chapter 3 who was healed and went into the temple courts "walking and jumping and praising God." I felt like that was what Tom was doing in Heaven.
Tom was a man who came to us a stranger and became our friend. He wanted to know us. He looked in David's office and wanted to know the story behind each thing on the wall. Even though he had struggles that made him have to work harder to do things, he didn't act like the world was all about him.
I guess my next thought was, "Who else is going to greet us older ladies with "How are you today YOUNG lady?'"
We will miss him.
Before Tom got sick, he attended Kevin Robert's class. He sometimes surprised me with his knowledgeable comments. God must have loved him a lot, for there are no wheelchairs in heaven.
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