PONTO LAKE — Thomas J. Plowman, a resident of Ponto Lake, Minn., passed away on May 1, 2011, at Northwest Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., with family at his side. Tom was born in Perry, Mich., on April 26, 1942, to the late Thomas and Gene Plowman. After graduating from Alma College in Alma, Mich., he began a 35-year career working in the automotive industry, first as the sales manager for a manufacturing company that sold chemicals to the Big 3; during the 70s Tom owned a Ford Dealership in Portland, Mich., and finally he sold vehicles in northern Minnesota. Prior to moving to the Brainerd Lakes Area, he was employed by Ercoa Pontoons in Cambridge, Minn., as their sales manager. Tom worked at Ace Hardware & Lumber in Hackensack, Minn., before retiring in 2007. He was always ready for a golf match with his friends from Ponto Lake and Green Valley, Ariz., where he spent the winters. Tom shot trap at the Pine River Fish & Game Club and had become a certified firearms safety instructor last year. Every fall he and three long time friends from Michigan met at the log cabin they built in Big Bay, Mich., for a week of camaraderie and reminiscing. He was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity in college, past president of the Portland, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Ponto Lake Homeowners Association and the Pine River Fish & Game Club. Tom’s outgoing, friendly, and courteous personality endeared him to those who knew him including the doctors, nurses, and other staff members that cared for him in Tucson.
He is survived by his wife, Sally, of 46 years; son, Thomas R. (Bob); grandchildren, Anthony and Kirsten; daughter, Trisha (Jeff) Wagner; brothers, John (Mary) and Jim (Dana Sullivan); brother-in-law, Dr. Mark Swanson (MaryJo); nephews, David and Michael Plowman; nieces, Elizabeth Plowman, Catherine Swanson and Dr. Erin Swanson Stone.
During his pre-teen and teenage years Tom spent several weeks during the summer as a camper and then camp counselor in Michigan. He always remembered those special times and felt the benefits from those experiences were invaluable; therefore memorial contributions are preferred to the Deep Portage Learning Center, 2197 Nature Center Dr. NW Hackensack, MN 56452. A scholarship in his name has been established for the Forkhorn 1 Camp that teaches “ethical, responsible” deer hunting — “deer biology, habits, and habitat needs” — as well as firearms safety to boys and girls 11-16 years of age.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on June 11, 2011, at the Longville Community Church, Longville. Burial will be in the Ponto Lake Cemetery, Backus. Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home in Pine River.