Thomas J. Carmichael

March 11, 1945 - Aug. 24, 2008

Thomas "Carms" "Farmer Tom" James Carmichael died Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008, at Waukesha Memorial Hospital at age 63. He was born March 11, 1945, to Mary Jane (Mann) and Donald Bryce Carmichael. He married Nancy Lee Barnard on Dec. 2, 1967.

He is survived by his wife, the Rev. Nancy Carmichael; their two children, Suzanne (Doug) Carmichael-Adkins and Lee (Nicole) Carmichael; his two grandsons, Oliver and Mercer; and one brother, Timothy (Marcia) Carmichael.

Tom graduated from Waukesha High School in 1963. He attended Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, earning a bachelor of science in biology and English. Later, he completed his masterís degree at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He taught English for the Pewaukee School District for 37 years, teaching at both the high school and middle school. For many years he was the team leader for the eighth grade. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from Partners For Education Inc. in recognition of outstanding leadership and advocacy of the development of business and educational partnerships. All his life he grew vegetables and bedding plants for the fresh farmers market. He and his wife owned Butchartís Flower Shop for more than 20 years. He served the community by serving on the Waukesha County Fair Board for many years in several areas, including commercial vendors, side stage and treasurer. Tom was given the nickname "Carms" by the students at Pewaukee High School. He loved the theater and directed the high school plays and musicals for many years. He served as team leader in the middle school also for many years. He retired in 2004. That year, he was privileged to give the eighth-grade graduation speech to Asa Clark Middle School. In it he used Robert Frostís poem, "The Road Less Traveled." He challenged them to chose a road, to take the road less traveled - the road that their heart would lead them to follow.

After retirement, he followed his farmerís heart and put his full energy into expanding his greenhouse perennial business and vegetable farm, continuing to sell plants and vegetables in the Waukesha Farmers Market and Dousman Farmers Market. He became known as "Farmer Tom." He followed his dream of "going South each winter," spending several months in Port Aransas, Texas, where he enjoyed walking the beach, wading in the ocean, watching the shipping canal and eating fresh shrimp.

He grew up on Oakdale Road in the town of Waukesha on the family farm where he and his wife also built their home and lived for 40 years. He passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Visitation will be held 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at First United Methodist Church, 121 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha. A second visitation will be held from 2 p.m. until the 4:35 p.m. funeral service Thursday, Aug. 28, at Immanuel United Methodist Church, 201 E. Racine St., Jefferson. The Rev. Pat Lyon will preside.

Memorials may be made to the family for a scholarship fund in Tomís name to benefit horticulture or agriculture students and pancreatic cancer research.

For further information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral, Cremation and Preplanning Services at 547-4035 or go to www.waukeshafunerals.com for directions or to leave an online tribute.