Thomas A. Karns, 83, of Cranberry Township passed away on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
Born in Nickleville on February 19, 1940 to the late Charles S. Karns and Eileen (Delaney) Karns Huffman, he helped his Dad from the age of 12 through 16 at the family’s sawmill working in the evenings and weekends. The moment he had his driver’s license, he started driving their two blacktop trucks back and forth to the pavers.
At age 18, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During basic training, he was qualified “Expert” with the M1 rifle. He was then sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia, serving in the Military Police and again qualified “Expert” with the carbine. In 1961 he went to Indian Town Gap and trained on the 155 Howitzer.
Following an honorable discharge, he joined the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 and returned to his roots as a heavy equipment operator in road construction and infrastructure. He worked for 40 years and retired at age 62, but it turned out his expertise was irreplaceable: he was asked to come back and returned to work for four more years at age 72. He finished his career pulling wrenches in Terry W. Kahle’s Kubota dealership.
Tom took incredible pride in his 60-acre farm in Cranberry Township where he planted and harvested crops, cut firewood, and kept his land and home immaculate. Tom could design, fabricate, re-assemble, and operate anything, and he passed this gift down to future generations.
Truly one of a kind, Tom had a witty, wry sense of humor. He loved to go to farm auctions, hunt, improve his land, and discover the wildlife visiting the farm with his many game cameras. His sweet tooth was legendary and his loving wife Kathy kept him well-supplied.
Later in life, Tom suffered from a chronic condition that caused him incredible amounts of pain. He was of the Christian faith; we thank God his pain is gone and pray that he is out in the heavenly fields on a bright, sunny day.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Katherine Karns. He is the loving father of Kim Dennis (Ron), Karen Landers (Sylvan), Tommy Karns (Connie), and Shelby Karns (Amanda); he is also survived by his son-in-law, Bill Merwin.
Tom is the proud grandfather of Cassie Merwin, April Wolfe (Danny), Brittany Shay (Joey), Tejay Dennis, Rachel Schwab (Andrew), Leah Lake (Henry), Kayla Karns, and Charlie Karns. He has been blessed with thirteen great-grandchildren. He is survived also by his sister, Ruth Ann Smith. He will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Eileen; and a daughter, Kathy Jo Merwin.
Private memorial arrangements are being completed by Hile-Best Funeral Home in Seneca. In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorial contributions be made to the preferred charity of your choice.
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