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From the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram



Thomas Phelps



Thomas "Tom" L. Phelps, age 68, of Eau Claire died unexpectedly Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.

He was born Oct. 6, 1941, in Spooner to Charles E. and Ethel (Hopkins) Phelps. He married Darlene A. Helland on Oct. 7, 1961, in Eau Claire. Tom served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1962. He worked for Land O' Lakes and also drove cab for Lightning Cab Company part time. He moved on to work for the Department of Transportation as a state inspector starting in La Crosse and then back in Eau Claire. He received a degree in precision inspection, and from 1989 until his retirement in 1996, Tom worked for the UW-Milwaukee as an instructor. Moving back to Eau Claire, he recently continued his part-time work for Abby Vans in Marshfield and A1 Taxi in Eau Claire.

Tom loved to have fun with his Bingo friends and enjoyed the "casino runs." The lottery was a daily thing, and he knew someday "my ship will come in." In his earlier years he enjoyed hunting and fishing, but his most favorite thing in life was spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene; five children, Chuck, Deborah (Thomas) Goldsmith, Lori Nance, Cheryl Pitt and Scott (Laurie), all of Eau Claire; 12 grandchildren, Michael (Kathy Zipfel) Phelps and Valerie (Juan) Phelps, Caitlyn, Cassandra, Courtney and Crystal Goldsmith, Dennis Nance and Brett Seidler, Nicole Pitt and Amanda (Bud), Chelsey and Jacob Phelps; three great-grandchildren, Aurora Phelps, Benjamin Anderson and Jasmyne; three brothers, Gerald (Mildred) of Rock Falls, Robert (Mary) of San Diego, Calif., and Joseph of Eau Claire; one sister, Martha Ming of Eau Claire; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Lynn Phelps-Patterson; and a brother, Charles.