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Thomas E. Eberhardt

AITKIN — Thomas Evan Eberhardt of Aitkin died in a plane crash with his wife of 42 years, Elinor Charlotte Eberhardt, on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010, near Milaca, Minn. Thomas is survived by his mother and father, Ruth and Paul Eberhardt; his brother, David Eberhardt; his sister, Judy Swartz; his son, Paul Eberhardt and his wife, Kim, and their two daughters; and his daughter, Sally Eberhardt and her two daughters.

Thomas was born in Massillon, Ohio, on July 25, 1945, and was the eldest of four children. Thomas went to Ohio State University where he earned a degree in industrial engineering and met his future wife, Elinor.

After graduating he moved to Rhode Island where he and his wife had their first child, Paul. Two years later he moved his family to Easton, Penn., where they had their second child, Sally. A true entrepreneur, Thomas started his first business there in 1978, and has been his own boss ever since.

After an exhaustive search of over 400 lakes all over the country, Thomas and Elinor settled on Cedar Lake and moved the businesses to Aitkin, Minn.

Thomas loved Aitkin and soon became very involved in the community. He was charter president of the Aitkin Lakes Area Rotary Club, was on the Airport Commission, founded and hosted the annual riverboat race during Riverboat Heritage days, and served as president of the Cedar Lake Association. An avid businessman, his latest project was a local peat processing company. During the reorganization of American Peat Technology Thomas took over as CEO and lead the company into prosperity.

His true passion was family. Both his children have moved to Aitkin in recent years, a rare blessing he truly appreciated. A lifelong fisherman, he was happiest on his pontoon boat with his grandchildren. He never missed an opportunity to toast the sunset, Cedar Lake and “Our Good Fortune.” He will be dearly missed by all those fortunate enough to have had their lives touched by his heart. Thomas was one of those rare people who lived his life to the fullest in the way he deemed best.

Thomas and his wife Elinor’s funeral will be at the Westside Baptist Church in Aitkin, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. with a visitation to follow until 5 p.m. and is open to the public. The family respectfully requests that you not send flowers but instead donate to the Susan G. Komen fund on the Elinor and Thomas Eberhardt Memorial fund site or to the Jaques Art Center or Riverwood Healing Garden, all causes that Thomas and his wife were active in supporting.

Arrangements are with the Sorensen-Root-Thompson Funeral Home in Aitkin.