Cover photo for Thomas Lee DeVore's Obituary

Thomas Lee DeVore

June 10, 1951 — February 16, 2024

Prairie Village, Kansas

Thomas Lee DeVore

The man, the myth, the legend: Thomas “Tom” Lee DeVore was born June 10, 1951, in Des Moines, IA. He passed peacefully on February 16th, 2024.


Tom was the middle child of his two sisters. He had many fond childhood memories growing up with his family in Earlham, IA where he graduated high school.


As a car dealer's son, Tom developed a passion for business and everything with a motor early in life (mainly speedster cars, racing boats, and Harley Davidson motorcycles). Tom also loved nothing more than spending time with his family and friends. He was the epitome of a magnetic personality.  So likable and always the life of the party, telling epic stories ranging from his first car - a Shelby Cobra, training his Shetland ponies, childhood pranks on his sisters to adult pranks on friends, motorcycle trips across the US, including Sturgis, summers at the Lake of the Ozarks and time on his boat named “Dealer Ship,” visits to Lake Rathbun and Lake Lotawana, beach vacations, days at the pool, Colorado trips, DeVore/Fortune family reunions, taking his nephews snow and water skiing, and so much more.


When Tom graduated from Simpson College, he began working at DeVore Motors in Centerville, IA. He excelled at sales when his passion for cars and people converged. Eventually, he wanted to realize his vision for business.  In 1983, he started his own 25-year, successful car dealership located in Knoxville, IA called DeVore Chevrolet with the motto “We trade your way.”   Tom emphasized service and gave back to the Knoxville community during this time. He was so thankful for the many who supported him. Even after he sold the business and retired, he continued to stay in touch with former employees, many of whom described how much they loved working for him.


In his words, what made Tom the proudest was his two daughters, Lisa and Aime’, and his five grandsons, Max, Cam, Cole, Wyatt, and Greysen. So, after selling his car dealership, Tom moved to the lake and then went to Kansas City to be close to them. He wasn’t afraid to tell anyone who would listen how much spending time with all of them brought him joy to the very end of his life.


Tom was often described as someone with 9 lives, he survived a boat explosion, a motorcycle accident, 4 heart attacks, 3 cancer scares, and more. So, when the latest diagnosis of metastatic cancer came, I think we all assumed he would somehow survive that too. He had such a desire to live and be part of this world. He wanted to have fun and be free. But when he had to move into a long-term care center, he made the best of it and charmed both the residents and the amazing staff who wonderfully cared for him.


In short, Tom loved people and they loved him. He was the kind of guy you wanted to be around, positive energy, great ambition, and a love of life. His presence on this earth will be missed by so many, but especially by those closest to him. Always looking sharp whether in his fedora, flannels, motorcycle leathers, or swimwear, he will be remembered as many things: “a dad and father-in-law” “an ornery brother” “uncle Tom” “Papa T” “Tommy Guns” “cute” “fun” “bigger than life” “taller than stature” “(hysterical) storyteller” and more.


Before he passed, he wrote a letter to his daughters. In it, he said “There is no substitute for the love and time you spend with your children, family, and friends in your life. Time is something you will never have enough of, spend the time wisely with the people closest to your heart.”


Tom is survived by his daughter Lisa Veatch (Matt) and grandsons Maxwell “Max,” Camden “Cam”, and Cole DeFever, as well as Dylan Veatch (Nicole), Madi, and Tatum Veatch, his daughter Aime’ Lenz (Peter) and grandsons Wyatt and Greysen Lenz, his sister MyRae Migliazzo (Salvatore “Sam” Migliazzo), his nephews Brett (Cassie), Matt (Marti), and Andrew (Amy) Stafford, as well as John (Linda) and Matt (Marisue) Migliazzo, his sister Pam DeVore (Ross Busby), his nephews Mac (Andrea “Andi”) and Ben Thomas and his uncle Jerry Fortune. He is preceded in death by his father, Myron Andrew DeVore “Popeye”, and mother, Darlene Artis (Fortune) DeVore “Glock”, as well as his uncles Quinton DeVore, Don Fortune (Lucy), Ivan Fortune (Darlene), and aunts, Mary Lou Havens (Howard) and Lanora DeVore (Allen), and his step-nephew Carl Migliazzo.

There will be no services held at this time.

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