Retired ARNG MAJ Thomas George Wardell, better known as Thom, graduated from this mortal existence to join God's army on the other side of the veil on July 21, 2021, at the age of 85. Thom was born on August 18, 1935, to Thomas Alvin and Vena Rasmussen Wardell.
Thom was a quiet, patient man who had bright blue eyes, a friendly nature, an easy smile, and an extraordinary amount of self-control. He was also "tough as nails." He became a man at the age of 12 after losing his father and taking on the responsibility of running the family ranch with his brother, Bob. Thom loved ranching, but he also loved the Lord, so at the age of 19, he placed his class ring on his sweetheart's finger and journeyed across the ocean to the island of Samoa where, for two and a half years, he served as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and learned to cherish the beautiful Polynesian people and their culture.
Upon his return, Thom replaced his class ring with an engagement ring. He and "his pearl," Thelma Pearl Rich, were married in the Salt Lake temple on his birthday, August 18, 1958. Thom joined the Army National Guard, earned his commission, and became a helicopter and small airplane pilot. He was called to active duty during the Vietnam War, but never served in Vietnam. After the conflict was over, he continued to serve in the Guard until his military retirement. Near the end of his National Guard career, he served as the Company Commander over the Vernal area. He also worked for the BLM and served his community as a Uintah County Commissioner, the Uintah Special Service District Manager, and Vernal Airport Manager.
Thom taught his children and grandchildren to eat healthy food, work hard, and love God. He taught by example the importance of marriage, family, and church service. Even during his difficult last days, he made the effort to be playful with his grandchildren. "How now brown cow" will forevermore bring a smile to their lips and a tear to their eyes.
When he returned home to his Heavenly Father, he was greeted by his father and mother, and his siblings Robert, Jimmy, and Glee Wardell. He left his sweetheart, Thelma Pearl Rich Wardell, to once again wear his class ring until they're reunited. He also left his children Moana (Kevin) Draper, Thomas Chris (Kristie) Wardell, Douglas Rich (Sheryl) Wardell, and Penelope (Alan) Batty, twenty-three grandchildren, and fifty-three great grandchildren, to carry on the heritage he and Pearl started. All of these loved ones, along with his living siblings, Dawna Wardell (sister-in-law), Jennie Kay Hancock, Connie (Niles) Mott, Gloria (Robert) Harris, and Shana Lee (Britt) Horrocks will miss him very much, but we are glad he is free of his Parkinson's ravaged body and able to dance the broom dance once again.
Funeral services for Thom will be held Monday August 9th, 2021, at 11:00am at the Glines 8th Ward Chapel (1270 West 1500 South). Visitation for family and friends will be held Sunday August 8th form 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the Phillips Ashley Valley Funeral Home, and Monday from 9:45am - 10:45am at the chapel. Interment in Vernal Memorial Park with Military Honors from the American Legion Post 11. Online condolences may be shared at www.AshleyValleyFuneralHome.com Funeral services will be live streamed.
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