Thomas Edward Gaunt, 90, of Decatur, passed away on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at his residence. He was born on July 7, 1932, in Decatur, IN, to the late Wayne Z. and Elma R. (Bittner) Gaunt. On December 8, 1950, he married Patricia Ann Gephart, she preceded him in death on March 2, 2005.
He was a graduate of Decatur High School (Class of ’50), where he ran track and played football. He was an avid Chicago Cubs fan, his whole life.
Thomas worked at Phelps Dodge, in Fort Wayne, for 29 years, was self-employed at Braun’s Market, for 5 years, owned and operated Willshire Meats, in Willshire, Ohio, for 5 years, retiring in 1990. During his retirement, he enjoyed living in Mesa, Arizona, for 6 months during the winter and Indiana for 6 months during the summer.
Thomas was a member of Union Chapel United Methodist Church, for over 70 years.
Everyone has a life story. Thomas lived to be 90 years old, but not without some help. He had his first heart attack in 1987 and then was put on a transplant list. On April 27, 1998, he received the greatest gift anyone could receive and that was a new heart.
The story behind this is, two other people, who were already in beds at Lutheran Hospital, turned this heart down. And then Thomas walked into the hospital. He was told by the heart doctor that it was not as good of a match as he would have liked. But he accepted, receiving a heart from a 13-year-old boy, who had an accident while playing with a gun. The little boys name was Jamie Duggan, from Sweesie, Indiana.
Thomas said a prayer every night thanking Jamie and God for this wonderful gift, of 24 years, he was one of the oldest living heart transplant recipients in Indiana. This was such a gift, for him to be able to see his family, continue to grow. The love of God and family were the center of Thomas’ world.
He is survived by his son, Thomas E. (Peggy) Gaunt Jr. of Warsaw; his daughters, Pamela Sheehan and Lori (Jim) Grose both of Decatur; a brother, Roger (Beverly) Gaunt; a sister-in-law, Romona Gephart; a brother-in-law, Roger Braun; a special companion, Colleen Howell Slaughter; 9 grandchildren, Beth (Ron) Bedwell, Shawn (Kelli) Sheehan, Lindsay (Antonio) Santanello, Michael (Marlissa) Gaunt, Matthew (Nicholle) Gaunt, Natalie (Andrew) Olmstead, Abby (Zach) Lewandowski, Austin Grose, Alec (Sabrina) Grose; 2 step grandchildren, Ashley (Justin) Sieb and Sarah (Will) Gray; 18 great grandchildren; 3 great-great grandchildren.
Thomas was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Patricia Gaunt; a brother, Bill Gaunt; 2 sisters, Elnora Braun and Marylou Gribler.
A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at Haggard-Hirschy & Zelt Funeral Home, with viewing 3 hours before the service, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Rev. Ernie Suman will be officiating and burial will immediately follow in Decatur Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Union Chapel United Methodist Church or the American Heart Association.