Tom L. Coale

Tom L. Coale

January 31, 1944 – October 22, 2022

VISITATION: Wednesday, October 26th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel.  FUNERAL SERVICE: Thursday, October 27th at 10:30am, West Center Chapel.  Interment, Evergreen Memorial Park.  Memorials are suggested to Nebraska Humane Society.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


Tommy Lynn Coale was born on January 31, 1944, in Bonne Terre, Missouri and died in Bellevue, Nebraska on October 22, 2022.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Sharon, and their son, Scott.  Tom is survived by daughter, Rhonda; son-in-law, Bryan G. Handlos; and beloved cat, Meow.

Tom grew up in Farmington, located in the Missouri Lead Belt.  As a boy, he loved to fish, get into mischief, and spend time with all of the animals on the family farm.  At junior college, he met the love of his life, Sharon Lee Wills from Desloge, Missouri, and they were married in 1964.  Tom was drafted by the United States Army in 1966 and was sent to Vietnam in early 1968.  He was honorably discharged later that year and resumed his life with Sharon, settling in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Tom began working for Missouri Pacific (MOPAC) Railroad in 1970 and he enjoyed negotiating with MOPAC’s customers to get the very best deal for the railroad that he could.  Tom, Sharon, Rhonda, and Scott moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1983 when MOPAC was acquired by Union Pacific.  Tom worked for the railroad until his early retirement in 1996.

In retirement, Tom and Sharon traveled around the country so much that Rhonda began to wonder if they were on the run from something.  They loved to explore new places and preferred to be nomadic, spending only one night at any given place so they could move on down the road the next day and see something else.

Tom had a reputation for being extremely frugal but was generous to a fault for those he loved.  He was a woodworker who made clocks, jewelry boxes, boomerangs, and even a pair of skis, which fortunately, he never used.  He was quick with good jokes and bad puns and loved to make people laugh.  He liked to buy cars, drink Diet Coke, and spend time with family and friends.





  • Patty Spry Posted October 23, 2022 2:10 pm

    RIP. Until we meet again. And who knows what costume I will be in. Fly high

  • Bruce Posted October 24, 2022 7:38 am

    Fond memories of Tom doing things to make life a little brighter, happier, and more enjoyable in creative ways.
    Every person Tom Trained at his “retirement job” was “the best he had ever trained”, He went more than a year making a cake every week to bring to the office with his signature perfectly applied frosting. and nobody will forget “Buckaroo Tuesday” when Tom would come up with a trivia question and if anyone could give the answer the won a buck. Crowds literally gathered around his desk for the question of the week. Dollar bills were posted like pendants of victory in cubicles. Never to be spent, but memories to be treasured. Tom made a difference. We loved his way of making life TSL for over 20 years of his “retirement”. He is irreplaceable as a person and is missed every day.

  • BethAnn Bouchard Posted October 24, 2022 9:34 am

    Tom will forever be with us. You can’t have known him and not he better for it. He was my uncle, a confidant, a philosopher, a comedian and the most caring and compassionate man to come out of the Leadbelt. He bought me my first guitar, took me fishing and always got in trouble with me with my dad( well Dad tried hard to be mad, but you could always see him trying not to smile). He was an incredible storyteller both of fact (as he saw it ) and fiction. He had an innate ability to make you feel special. We will see you on the other side UT. I know there’s a heavenly party going on with your arrival at the pearly gates. Always yours #1 SR

  • Gary Handlos Posted October 24, 2022 9:50 am

    Always with a story, just with a new audience now, and you will never be forgotten…

  • Jodi Pfaff Posted October 24, 2022 2:11 pm

    Tom was one of my favorite people @ TSL. He was always in a good mood and could make anyone laugh with his jokes and stories. He is greatly missed!

  • Darlene Joyce Posted October 26, 2022 12:12 pm

    Thank you for your friendship and my wonderful daughter-in-law. Sorry you didn’t hang around for that last gift I was finding for you.

  • Tom Reimers Posted October 26, 2022 1:44 pm

    We were lucky to have Tom as a neighbor and friend for over 30 years. He was always eager to greet us with a warm smile and was generous in so many ways. We always enjoyed our conversations with Tom and we could always count on a good story or two. Mostly, we enjoyed and will miss his warmth, kindness and generosity and feel grateful to have shared in the life of the wonderful person that he was.

    Tom and Kristi Reimers

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