MONMOUTH—Thomas (Tom) Alan Free, 65, of Monmouth, passed away at 6:08 a.m. on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in his home.

He was born July 15, 1955, in Monmouth and grew up outside Little York as the second of four sons born to Jim and Gladys Free. He graduated from Yorkwood High School in 1973 and Western Illinois University 1980. He married Melissa (Missy) Lease on March 27, 1977, and they welcomed daughter Jessica in 1978, then daughter Whitney in 1985.

Tom and Missy moved north to Lanark in 1985. He spent most of his career in community banking, primarily as an ag lender. Many of Tom's clients stayed in touch with him following his retirement in 2019. Over the last couple of years, Tom enjoyed helping his dad and brother with crop planting and harvest duties on the family farm. He moved to Monmouth in 2020.

Tom was a hard worker and a generous, faithful man who loved helping others in ways big and small. He held leadership roles at Lanark United Methodist Church; mentored young banking professionals; spent countless hours at his daughters' school activities; helped friends paint, plant, build and repair; and loaded and unloaded about a hundred moving trucks for his kids and loved ones.

Tom's favorite thing to do was to be with Missy and their family. Whether they were vacationing, celebrating holidays, or listening to music around a backyard fire pit, Tom truly enjoyed his time with Missy and their daughters and sons-in-law. Tom also loved being Papa to his grandkids, attending every piano recital and laughing through countless rounds of charades, Pictionary, and Pokemon battles.

Tom and Missy found great fulfillment in their circle of friends, enjoying card games, Sunday night tacos, group vacations, rounds of golf, and lots of inside jokes and shenanigans. They supported one another and found joy in each day, even during the hardest of times.

Tom leaves behind his daughter and son-in-law, Jessica and Chet Mellema; daughter and son-in-law, Whitney Free and Joe Martin; grandchildren, Charlotte (11) and Henry (8) Mellema; father and mother, Jim and Gladys Free; siblings, Mark Free, Barry (Mary Ann) Free, and Stan (Mary Ann) Free; siblings-in-law, Mindy (Mike) Henry, Kevin Lease, Lana (Mike) Booth, Mike Lease, and Lynn (Lorraine) Lease; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his wife Missy, father-in-law Bill Lease, mother-in-law Louise Hallstrom, and many relatives and close friends.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m., Friday, July 9, at McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Monmouth. Visitation will be two hours prior to the service, from 9-11 a.m. at the funeral home. A light luncheon will be served following the service. Burial at Belmont Cemetery will take place after the luncheon.

Memorial donations may be made in Tom's name to Little Cedar Methodist Church or Lanark United Methodist Church.

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