Cover photo for Thomas Mettler's Obituary
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1942 Thomas 2020

Thomas Mettler

August 13, 1942 — November 29, 2020

A good family man, who was a grumpy bear sometimes, but would give you the shirt off his back are just a few ways to describe Tom Mettler. A few events that occurred in history in 1942, include the first rationing due to shortages with supplies, the minimum draft age is lowered from 21 to 18, the famous duct tape is invented, and on August 13, 1942 Maurice and Esther (Circle) Mettler welcomed the birth of Thomas A. Mettler in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

He was the youngest of three children and was really close to his older sister Nancy.  He and Nancy would gang-up on their oldest sibling, Carol, all the time growing up.  They were close all their lives.  His first childhood dog love was a cocker-mix named Sandy. Tom loved that dog so much he had another Sandy years later.

Tom went to Arcola Schools for ten years before moving just south of Loon Lake, where he attended Columbia City Joint High School and graduated with the Class of 1961.  He loved to tell the story of putting the Arcola High School Principal’s VW Bug in the hallway with the help of a few friends one night.  Tom met Cindy in high school but they didn’t actually date then. They both had other dates at the prom in 1961 that were more interested in other people.  They started talking to each other then but didn’t date until later. Cindy went to Dale’s IGA where Tom worked stocking shelves, to buy mackerel for her cats.  He assumed Cindy had a large family since she bought so much fish, only to find out it was just for her cats.

Tom and Cindy started dating around Christmas time in 1961.  Cindy wanted to ask Tom out to a Christmas party but he beat her to it!  On January 26, 1963 he married Lucinda J. VanHouten at Coesse United Methodist Church.

Tom started work at Dale’s IGA before moving on to GE and later International Harvester until its closing in 1983.  While waiting on a call-back from IH, Tom worked at Magnavox until 1988, when he returned to work at IH in Springfield until his retirement in 1999.  Tom stayed in a trailer park full of other Fort Wayne employees that also worked all week and went home on the weekends.  After taking an early retirement to spend time with his grandchildren he drove a truck for Auto Parts by Triers  for 12 years.

Tom was an avid woodworker and made many beautiful oak shelves and cabinets, a lot of them will be handed down for generations to come.  He also made toy cars, puzzles, trains, games, and basically anything that could be made out of wood.  Tom was such a perfectionist and took great pride in his work.  In 1983, he started making redwood swings and gliders.  Tom spent many years at the Shipshewana Flea Market before moving on to the Johnny Appleseed Festival, Huntington Pioneer Festival, Kendallville Apple Festival, and over 30 years at the Grabill Country Fair while operating his business Country Woodcrafts, Inc.

Tom loved his kids, grandkids, and great-grandson.  He mentored his grandson, Brett, in 4-H woodworking.   He loved animals and was an avid game player, especially card games like pinochle and hand & foot.

Tom enjoyed watching the Indianapolis Colts during the Peyton Manning years.  He also loved watching the Fort Wayne Komets and saw several IHL tournament wins during his season ticketholder years in the early 1990s.

Tom will always be remembered in the hearts of those that loved and knew him so well.

Thomas A. Mettler, age 78, of Columbia City, IN, passed away due to non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver at 1:23 am on Sunday November 29, 2020 surrounded by the love of his family and protected by his Yorkie, Dewey.

Survivors include his loving wife of 57 years Lucinda Mettler of Columbia City; daughters Holly Fry of Columbia City and Amy Schaefer of Rossville, GA; foster-daughter Barbara (Arthur) Karst of Fort Wayne; grandchildren Brett (Micaela Greenwood) Fry, Dayra Fry, Sydney Schaefer, Jasmine Schaefer, and Payton Schaefer; one great-grandson Remington Fry.

He was preceded in death by his parents, granddaughter Madison Schaefer, sisters Carol Lehman and Nancy Jane Smith.

A Celebration of Life for Tom will be held on Tuesday December 8, 2020 from 2-4 & 6-8 pm at DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. With the current Executive Order, face masks are required for attendance.

Because of his deep love of animals, memorial donations may be given in memory of Tom to Whitley County Humane Society.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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