Thomas “Tom” H. Airis

Thomas “Tom” H. Airis died peacefully and comfortably at home surrounded by his family on Thursday, July 16, 2020. He will be greatly missed.

Tom was born on Dec. 21, 1949, in Eau Claire, Wis., to John and Anabel Airis and remained a lifelong resident and participant in the community. In his youth, he attended Campus School and later graduated from Eau Claire Memorial in 1968. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geography, with an emphasis on cartography, from Wisconsin State University in 1974.

It was in college where Tom met and later married his wife, Carol. The couple’s two children, Jonathan and Kristie, completed the family. Tom was a project manager at Esser Glass for 27 years, and although he retired in 2006, he continued to enjoy the challenge of special projects for “the office.” Tom enjoyed wood—logging it, cutting it, splitting it, stacking it and, most importantly, using it to create beautiful furniture and other special items that can be found in the homes of his family and friends. He was a thorough craftsman with a strong attention to detail. Tom was a lifelong foamer and was always excited (and many times, he slowed down) to be stopped at a train crossing. He loved traveling the rails and, when driving, followed the railroad tracks, taking him to many interesting destinations.

He relished family vacations in Mexico and skiing the mountains of Europe in his youth and North America throughout his life, imparting a love of skiing and the outdoors to his kids. He and Carol crisscrossed the United States with their lifelong friends, John and Betty Qualheim. No one could pack a van for four people and three dogs, like Tom. There was always a faithful four-legged friend in Tom’s life and Reiver, Kari, Chessie, Cobi, Brandy and Kipling were an important part of his family and travels.

With great pleasure, Tom took care of the family cottage in Chetek, Wis., his entire life, sharing the joys of Pokegama Lake with many guests. He enjoyed each and every season at the lake and took great pride in ensuring the property would be cherished by future generations. Tom’s greatest source of comfort was knowing his children loved the lake as much as he did.

Tom is survived by his wife, Carol; his son, Jonathan (Skye), of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his daughter, Kristie (Logan) Keeney, of Denver, Colo.; and two beautiful granddaughters, Violet Airis and Poppie Keeney. He is also survived by his sister, MaryEdna (Eric) Hagen, and many nieces and nephews.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, John and Anabel.

The family would like to thank the care and compassion provided by his doctors and, in particular, the nurses of Dunlap Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire. In lieu of flowers, donations in Tom’s name can be made to Chetek Lakes Protection Association, 213 Knapp St., Chetek, WI 54728, or the charity of your choice.

Due to COVID-19, the family will be holding a private graveside service. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services is assisting the family.

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