Thomas J. “Tom” Kirley, 95, of Kewanee died at 11:20 p.m. Friday June 13, 2014 at the Toulon Health Care Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 A.M. Thursday, June 19, 2014 at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Kewanee. Fr. Johndamaseni Zilimu will officiate. Lunch will be provided afterward. Inurnment will be at the Barrancas Naval Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. Memorials may be made to Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area. Private online condolences may be left for the family at www.schuenemantumblesonfuneralhome.com
Tom was born October 20, 1918 in Neponset Il., the son of George and Margaret (Girvin) Kirley. He was reared and educated in Neponset schools. After High school he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and was stationed at Ford Field at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked in 1941. Tom married Margaret Prendergast in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1946. She preceded him in death in 1985. He was also preceded in death by a sister Mary and a sister Bernice. Tom then married Elsie VanDaele of Kewanee in 1993.
Tom is survived by a daughter Patricia Kirley Marten of Sewickley, PA, three sons Mike Kirley and his wife Cathy of Woodbury, MN, Tim (Megan) Kirley of Seattle, WA, and Dan (Rita) Kirley of Westplains, MO. Also surviving are Larry (Pat) VanDaele of Kewanee, IL, Jan Studer of Hesperia, CA, Ron VanDaele of Kewanee, IL, and Tom (Denise) VanDaele of Moline IL,. Also surviving is one sister Margaret Potocki of Chicago. Tom is survived by 22 grand, great and great- great grandchildren.
Tom was a Naval aviator serving from 1939 through 1959. He returned to his Midwest roots and farmed north of Kewanee. He was also was a dealer for Harvestor from 1967-1968. Tom was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Kewanee, the Flemish American Club, and the Pearl Harbor survivors group. Tom enjoyed traveling, reading and walking with Elsie at Johnson State Park every day, and had walked there as recently as 3 weeks ago. He competed as a race walker in the Senior Olympics for over 20 years.