In Memory of

Thomas Allen McFarlin

April 5, 1949 - May 18, 2023


Thomas Allen McFarlin, 74, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was taken home by his Lord on May 18, 2023, after a short but intense battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Lovingly cared for at home by his son and daughter-in-law, Tom M. and Carrie McFarlin, and his beloved soul companion, Paula Jeffries, Tom also enjoyed warm fellowship with his faith family at First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit. A visit from his sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Bob Korbel, as well as visits and calls from friends and former colleagues, brightened his last days. 

Tom was born on April 5, 1949, in Ashland, Ohio to Lee and Maxine McFarlin. He was welcomed by his older sister, Patricia “Trish” (McFarlin) Jones, and was later joined by a younger sister, Diane (McFarlin) Korbel. As Tom’s father was a Baptist minister who pastored churches in several states, the children attended schools in Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, before returning to Ohio for their high school years.  

It was during those years that Tom’s athletic prowess and leadership skills began to take shape. Tom was the star quarterback of the Poland Bulldogs football team, until his high school career ended with a broken wrist. That didn’t prevent him from being crowned Homecoming King his senior year. Nor did it prevent Tom from taking a short turn at semi-professional football with the now-defunct Mohicanville Raiders. Shortly after Tom’s football career ended, his railroad career began. Beginning as a signalman for Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, later known as Conrail, Tom steadily advanced through increasingly responsible positions until he was hired by the Federal Railroad Administration. Again, he achieved recognition for his knowledge and leadership skills, spending the last years of his career at FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in an office that overlooked the Washington Monument. Tom retired from the FAA in 2012 with the impressive title of Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, Staff Director, Signal and Train Control Division, Federal Railroad Administration. After retirement Tom continued to take on private assignments as a professional consultant in various legal issues pertaining to signal and track safety and compliance. 

Tom’s retirement years were the richest of his life, for two basic reasons: His God and his family. Tom’s love of fishing was legendary, inherited from his father, and passed down to his own son. Tom and son “Tommy” spent countless hours searching for the biggest bass in any waters they could find; and for trout, in two trips to Arkansas with Tommy and his wife Carrie. Golf came in a close second, although he enjoyed watching it more than actually playing it. Love of football, basketball, baseball, and later (thanks to son Tommy’s proven prowess at the new game) pickleball were also shared with family, even across the miles. Text messages flew back and forth during big PGA golf tournaments, college playoff games, March Madness basketball, and NFL playoffs.  

Tom would have a better grasp of the timing and circumstances of how and when God truly drew him into His kingdom family, but he is already enjoying the eternal privileges of that reality, so we can’t ask him. We can share about how Tom’s new relationship with Jesus Christ began to show up in his life as God answered decades of prayers by Tom’s beloved mother and his sisters. He would attend church with them when he visited Florida, and he believed his mother was somehow with God when she died in 2010. But it wasn’t until several years after her death that God transformed his own life.  

Living in Missouri, Tom met a woman who loved God and who fell in love with Tom. Paula Jeffries encouraged him to share Bible studies with her, find a church home, and get involved. God directed Tom to First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit (FBCLS), where he became an active member and even a substitute teacher for his beloved Sunday School class. Meantime, God granted more prayers on Tom’s behalf and transformed the life of his son, Tommy. Tommy, in turn, became a very active member of Abundant Life church in Lee’s Summit and an integral part of their videography and technical team. He and his wife Carrie also facilitate classes in divorce care and blended families.  

Even during the nearly three years he lived in Florida, Tom exhibited his changed life. He shared his love of music by joining sister Diane in the choir and worship ministry of the church she then attended, and he enjoyed many discussions with sister Trish about her studies in and writings about Bible doctrine and theology.  

When Tom received the devastating diagnosis of terminal pulmonary fibrosis, the same disease that took his mother’s life on earth, he and his sisters quickly agreed with son Tommy’s urging for Tom to return to Missouri for his last season of life. He did so in March, 2022, settling within 30 minutes of Tommy and his family, Paula Jeffries, and FBCLS. Tom continued an active life as long as he could, resuming his fellowship with his church family; his close relationship with Tommy’s family; his fishing adventures with his son, including a trout-fishing expedition with Tommy and Carrie; and his loving bond with Paula. But most evident through it all, to literally his very last breath, was his strong, confident faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the peace that passes all understanding, granted to him by God.  

Knowing his time of departure from his earthly body was rapidly approaching, Tom videotaped his testimony to the reality and glory of Christ, and the new life given to him by God through Jesus. Tom didn’t know – none of us did – that only four weeks later, he would be seeing Jesus face-to-face. That testimony will be shown at Tom’s service on May 27, 2023, accompanied by the tears and prayers of his family that God use it to draw others to our only hope of reconciliation with the holy and righteous Creator of the universe. To God by the glory. 

While Tom lives on in the glories and majesty of Paradise with his Savior and loved ones who have gone before him, he leaves behind on this earth a multitude of those whose lives have been enriched by his love and service and example. Chief among those are his son, Tom M. McFarlin and wife Carrie; his two grandchildren, Gwen and Weston McFarlin; his four step-grandchildren, Emily, Ashley, Bradley and Troy Gleiser; his sisters, Patricia “Trish” Jones, and Diane and Bob Korbel of Florida; nephew Kevin and Kathy Jones of Ohio; great-niece Chelsea Jones and her two children, Killian and Madilyn; his sweet lady and love of his life, Paula Jeffries; his faith family at FBCLS, and numerous relatives and friends around the country. He will be remembered and missed.  

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made in the name of Tom A. McFarlin to First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit.


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I recently learned of Tom’s passing. He was truly a wonderful man. He will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Glory to God he found the love and forgiveness he so desperately searched for. My condolences to his family and friends.
To Tom, the Love of My Life, Until we meet again….


Saturday, May 27, 2023
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
First Baptist Church of Lee's Summit
2 NE Douglas
Lee's Summit, MO 64063


Saturday, May 27, 2023
11:00 AM
First Baptist Church of Lee's Summit
2 NE Douglas
Lee's Summit, MO 64063