Cover photo for Thomas A. Harmon's Obituary

Thomas A. Harmon

December 4, 1927 — December 17, 2023

CARIBOU – Thomas A. Harmon, 96, died December 17, 2023 at his home in Caribou surrounded by his loving family and longtime devoted caregivers. He was born in Caribou, December 4, 1927, son of the late Perley F. and Ella (Albert) Harmon. Tom attended Caribou High School graduating in 1946.  Immediately after high school, he served in the United States Navy post World War II from 1946-1948 during the rebuilding of Western Europe under the American Marshall Plan. Tom was stationed with Naval Aviation units in Jacksonville, FL and Whiting Field Milton, FL . Following an honorable discharge from military service, Tom attended the University of Maine at Orono, graduating with a bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1952. Tom was a proud member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity American Legion and UMaine Alumni Association.  Tom was a staunch supporter of the UMaine Perley F and Ella Albert Harmon Scholarship fund for Washburn and Caribou High School graduates and the Caribou High School Peter A Harmon Scholarship that he and Annette established in their son’s memory. 

On June 29, 1957 he married the love of his life, Annette Levasseur. They shared 62 years of marriage and raised four children, Gregory, Denise, Peter and Suzanne (Suzy).  With a smile, Tom remarked that his life changed for the better when Annette contacted him to accompany her on a double date to a New Years Eve party at Loring Air Force Base. He always commented about his extreme good fortune marrying his beloved Annette, together raising a family and taking pride in his children through the years.  Tom caught a lot of fish in his life, but certainly his greatest catch was Annette.  

Tom was a farmer at heart.  In 1934, during the Great Depression, Tom’s young parents took a courageous leap of faith. They sold their home on Vaughn Street (Caribou) and purchased a 240 acre potato farm in rural Perham, Maine. Like his six siblings, Tom was conscientious and a hard worker on the farm. During those early lean years, expanding the farm’s tillage was all hands on deck and a family affair!  Horseback or electric rail car was the transportation of choice from Carson Siding (three miles from the farm) to town for groceries.  Tom’s elementary schooling (K-8) was a one room schoolhouse located on the Harmon farm. One teacher taught all grades for all Perham children totaling a dozen young children which over half consisted of the Harmon children.  As a young adolescent Tom was fascinated with planes and developed a hobby for flying. At age 14, between spring planting and harvest seasons, Tom took flying lessons at the Caribou Airport. Tom achieved the required flying hours and earned his private pilots license. He loved to share stories of his younger days flying over the beautiful countryside of Aroostook County. It was a past-time and accomplishment he cherished. 

With strong farm family roots and a degree in agronomy, Tom’s professional career continued in supporting agriculture and farmers.  His first job after graduation from UMaine took him to Carlisle, PA for three years with USDA Soil Conservation Service as a Soil Scientist and Farm Planner before returning to Aroostook County. Through the years, he worked at Maine Department of Agriculture as a Marketing Specialist promoting Maine potatoes in metropolitan areas along the East Coast, Aroostook Federation of Farmers as Office Manager and Assistant Treasurer, Farm Credit as Branch Manager, and then Farm Service Agency (FmHA) as County Loan Supervisor before retiring in 1989. 

Tom’s passion was the outdoors and nature.  He developed close friendships through hunting, ice-fishing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross country ski adventures. He was an avid hunter for bird and deer every fall with his buddies covering acreage in Portage, Perham and Ashland. Tom proudly provisioned the hunting camp with Annette’s homemade whoopie pies, ginger creams and raspberry pies to share.  His past-time and joy migrated to his expansive garden which he meticulously kept with much pride. His annual vegetable and berry crops were often more than could be consumed by the immediate family let alone fully canned, blanched and/or frozen by Annette. He often sent the children with a wagon in tow through the neighborhood to generously offer fresh produce to neighbors. In his elder years, Tom marveled at the habitat and migration of birds, especially Canada geese. Many afternoons were spent on benches near ponds or small bodies of water admiring and watching Canada geese.  Annette would happily sit with him and read her favorite historical novel or knit for grandchildren.

During retirement, Tom and Annette enjoyed traveling frequently through the Canadian maritime provinces and Quebec. Their travels also included visiting their children and grandchildren in Alabama, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Southport Island, Maine.  They often expanded family trips into opportunities to explore various regions of the US.  

Tom is survived by children, Gregory Harmon and wife Kathleen of Waynesville, NC, Denise Harmon of Albuquerque, NM, and Suzanne Harmon Withee and husband David Withee of Dover, NH/Southport Island, ME.  Tom is predeceased by his beloved wife, Annette and son, Peter A. Harmon.  Grandchildren include Colleen, Christopher & Mark Harmon, Noah & Benjamin Stern, Alexandra & Catherine Withee, and great-grandchild, Olive Harmon. He is also survived by Annette’s beloved only sister, Eileen Levasseur, sisters in-law, Eva Harmon and Rachel Levasseur and several nieces and nephews.  

A special thank you on behalf of the family to Tom’s faithful and devoted team of caregivers who visited and cared for him in his final days of private home hospice led by Natasha Chartier in coordination with Bobbi Jo Hanley RN and Dr Krista Burchill of Pines Health.  Honoring Tom’s wishes, he was able to pass peacefully at his home of 60 years with comfort and tender loving care.

A double Mass of Christian Burial for both Tom and Annette (passed 12/22/19) will be celebrated on Friday, June 21, 2024 at 11AM at Holy Rosary Church in Caribou. A luncheon reception and sharing of memories/stories will immediately follow.  Tom and Annette will be laid to rest at a private family interment held in the Evergreen Cemetery.  Funeral arrangements are with Mockler Funeral Home (www.mocklerfuneralhome.com)

In memory of Tom, those who wish, may contribute to: RSU 39 Peter A. Harmon Scholarship Fund, 75 Glenn Street, Caribou Maine 04736 or UMaine Foundation Perley F and Ella F Harmon Scholarship Fund, Buchanan Alumni House, Two Alumni Place, Orono Maine 04469.
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