Thomas Russell O’Harra, 57, of Newton died on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at the Comfort House in Pella. A celebration of Tom’s life will be held from 3-5 p.m., Thursday, March 16, at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Tom’s name (checks made to Elke O’Harra) may be left at the funeral home.
Tom, the son of Tom G. and Marilyn (Hill) O’Harra, was born on March 22, 1965 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. At a young age, he moved to Newton and attended Newton Community Schools until his family moved to North Liberty; where he would graduate from high school a semester early. In March of 1983, Tom enlisted in the US Army. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia; Hawaii; Fort Campbell, Tennessee; and then in Lee Barracks, Germany. Tom married the love of his life Elke Siebert in 1991 in Mainz, Germany. They lived in Mainz for four years while Tom also installed rooftop gardens. Tom was a wonderful husband to Elke and a loving dad to their daughter, Louisa. In 1993, Tom and Elke moved to Newton. Tom had many deployments with his military career including Desert Storm, Joint Endeavor, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, and Afghanistan. He then was part of 1-383rd Training Support Battalion, which was activated for the first time since WWII. On May 11, 2005, Tom retired from the U.S. Army and returned to his home in Newton. While in Newton he worked for Heerema Construction, the Newton schools and most recently for Trinity Structural Towers.
Tom was a member of the American Legion Post 111. He enjoyed watching soccer, hunting, and fishing. He also loved a good home cooked meal and spending time with his neighbors out on the patio. Tom was a very respectful man that enjoyed helping his neighbors and friends. During COVID he even would sew and give them all masks. Tom had a great sense of humor and enjoyed time with his family.
Tom is survived by his wife, Elke O’Harra of Newton; his mother-in-law, Hildegard Siebert; and many brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. He is also survived by his fur babies that he loved, Mia and Annie. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Louisa in 2015; and a brother, Doug Stewart.
Elke would like to thank Dr. Dan Buroker and his staff and the Newton Cancer Clinic for their care and also to the Jasper County Veteran’s Affairs office for the rides provided to Tom’s appointments.
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