Thomas Harding Harp, 99 of Brownsburg, IN passed away peacefully, October 21, 2020 at Brownsburg Meadows. He was born to Katie Sensenbaugh Harp and Thomas Bittle Harp on December 27, 1920 in Craig County, Vinita, Oklahoma. Growing up in a rural farming and ranching community, he soon became known simply as “Buddy”. He was the third youngest child in a family of fourteen children. His strong, family oriented background instilled a strong work ethic in him reflected in a high academic standing (salutatorian) in his graduation class from White Oak High School and exceptional performance in his varsity wrestling and basketball endeavors. He achieved multiple wrestling titles.
Along with two of his brothers, he served his country in World War ll in the United States Army Air Force attaining the rank of Master Sargent Command with responsibility for about 500 enlisted personnel. His service included the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy. He later served three years in the Air Force Reserve. As he frequently said in later life... “the Air Force took a country boy and molded him into a man and a leader”. The leadership qualities that he developed in the military served him well in his professional career in the transportation industry for 41 years as he progressed into general management. He served as president of the National Defense Transportation Association in Houston, Texas and President of the Dallas Transportation Club.
He did not have to look far to find his life partner, Virginia Lee (Hale) Harp. She lived with her parents and older brother and sister on a nearby farm. As he once said.. “I would often ride my palomino horse over the country roads to see her after completing my farm chores… fortunately the horse knew his way home and I could just release the reins and grab a little sleep on the way home”. His marriage to his high school sweetheart spanned 61 years. His work took him and Virginia to multiple locations in Texas and finally to Salt Lake City, Utah, a transportation hub to the western states. Throughout their time and travels together, Tom (Buddy) and Virginia were very active in their church families with Tom serving in the elder role for 50 years. An example of his commitment to his church life was evidenced by his being President of the Congregation and Chairman of the General Board of First Christian Church in Houston, Texas.
After being relocated by his employer to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he retired, he continued his community service in the suburb of Sandy, Utah as a member of the Mayors Advisory Board.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and thirteen siblings and his grandson, Walter Douglas Harp. He is survived by his son, Douglas Harp, and his wife, Mary E. Harp; grandson, Thomas Porter Harp; and granddaughter, Heather (Harp) Browning.
Arrangements are pending in the care of Eric MD Bell Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Pittsboro, IN. All are encouraged to keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
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