Thomas Dean Hardy, age 70, of Billings, Montana died peacefully at home on June 19, 2018, after a 17-year battle with cancer.
Tom was born on March 23, 1948 in Cokato, Minnesota to Lawrence and Myrtle (Pettit) Hardy. After graduation he enlisted in the Army and became a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He served in the Viet Nam conflict.
After returning home he answered an ad in the paper and ended up in Australia where he worked for 7 months and made lasting friendships and memories. In the early 70’s Tom returned to Cokato and worked for Jerry Knapp in the design and manufacture of fiberglass auto bodies. This experience led to his interest in racing. Tom later participated in the Paul Newman racing school in California and raced Formula-V cars at Donnybrook Raceway in Brainerd, Mn.
He loved telling the story about his decision to move to Montana to become a mountain man. He spent the next 40 years perfecting the art of building fine muzzle loading rifles with intricate engraving and carving. Tom spent his years in Montana surrounded by those who shared his interests and love for the history of the trappings and trade of the mountain man. He became a master in the art of scrimshaw, beadwork, and leather work.
Tom worked as a draftsman in Billings for over 30 years, retiring in 2008. He is survived by his wife Lynn, daughter Leslie Kirby, (John Hegamyer), granddaughters Crystal Kirby, Corinne Kirby, and great grandson Maverick. He is also survived by his brother Ken Hardy (Linda) and sister Suzanne Brook (Dave).
A service celebrating Tom’s life will be held 2:00 P.M., Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at the Smith Funeral Chapel, 925 S. 27th St., Billings, MT. Memorials can be made in Tom’s name to Riverstone Hospice, Billings, Montana or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.