Thomas John McDevitt, MD, of Pocatello, Idaho passed away peacefully on December 29, 2018. Born in Pocatello of an Irish father and a German mother into a family of 14, Tom grew up tough, enterprising, and resourceful. After graduating Pocatello High School, he attended the University of Idaho on a boxing scholarship. While in college, Tom served as a tour guide in Yellowstone National Park where he told New York tourists that he had to let the animals out of their cages every morning.
When hostilities broke out on the Korean peninsula, Tom quit college, volunteered for the Infantry and traveled to a distant shore where he engaged in heavy combat as a mortarman against the Chinese and North Koreans until the war’s end. Coming home as a staff sergeant, Tom left the service and returned to finish his degree at the University of Idaho and later obtained a medical degree from Marquette University.
Tom met the love of his life, Bruna, at Marquette and soon he and his “little red hen” were married. Tom began as a family practice physician in Pocatello and later obtained specialties in allergies, facial plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat medicine. He practiced medicine well into his 70s at the corner of Lander and 7th Avenue. Bruna assisted him as a medical technologist, analyzing pathogens and allergens in the office.
Tom and Bruna raised six children in Pocatello. Besides practicing medicine, Tom was an avid fisherman, hunter, rancher, horse rider, traveler, historian and the author of seventeen books and countless articles. Recognizing his medical expertise and leadership, the United States Senate appointed Tom to the rank of Colonel in the Army Medical Corps.
After Bruna’s death in 1998, Tom remained very active in the community and the state. Tom had a second chance at love when he met and married Teresa Thomas. Teresa remained by Tom’s side throughout the remainder of his life. Tom is survived by his wife, Teresa, several brothers and sisters, his children and grandchildren. Rarely does a renaissance man like Thomas J. McDevitt grace this planet. He lived a very full life and changed his community and state and the people who knew and loved him.
In his words:
“He sold papers. He pressed clothes. He railroaded.
He paved roads. He surveyed roads. He delivered mail. He doctored.
He raised grain. He raised hay. He raised cattle.
He went to school. He went to war. He went to jail.
He made love. He made money. He made speeches.
He built a house. He sired a son. He wrote a book.
He fought in the ring. He fought out of the ring.
He saved a life. He broke a horse. He rode a bull. He was throwed and stomped.
He drank. He smoked. He gambled.
He fished. He hunted. He trapped. He made arrow heads."
We will miss you, Tom.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Knights of Columbus Assembly.
Funeral mass will be Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 10 am in the St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 455 N. Hayes, Pocatello. Family will receive friends from 2 pm to 6 pm Friday, January 18, in the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello, where a vigil service will be held at 6:30 pm. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornelisonfh.com