Tom was known for his wonderful smile, good sportsmanship, and sense of humor.
He was a beloved friend to all he met and a wonderful and loving husband, father, and brother.
Tom was born and raised in Petoskey, MI, and had family ties to Lansing, MI. He attended Petoskey Public Schools, graduating from Petoskey High School in 1967.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan University in 1971.
After graduating college, Tom moved to Denver, CO, where he worked as a stone mason.
He traveled to many parts of the world—including Iceland, Bahrain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Switzerland—as a representative for a manufactured stone company.
Tom returned to the Petoskey area in 1987. In 1990, he began working as a security manager at Charlevoix’s K-Mart.
In 1993, he married his best friend and running partner, Gayle Donaven, in Boyne City. Tom retired from K-Mart in 2013, and after retiring, he was frequently found making the best caramel apples at Kilwins Boyne City, which he and his wife Gayle opened in 1997 and co-own.
Tom’s passion was running.
He held the half-mile track record at Petoskey High School for many years.
Tom traveled across Michigan and the country running in races. He ran in the Boston Marathon in 1990 and 2014 and was slated to run in 2020, before the marathon was postponed due to COVID-19.
His favorite races were the Crim 10 Mile in Flint, MI; the Grand Rapids 10-Mile Bridge Run; the Bay Shore Half-Marathon in Traverse City, MI; and the Boston Marathon. In 2015, he was the Road Runners Club of America Male Senior Grand Master Regional 5k and 10k champion.
He was proud to be part of the Traverse City Track Club (TCTC), a member of the TCTC Racing Team, and a part of his “Runily.” In 2019, his peers voted him TCTC Men’s Runner of the Year.
In addition to running, Tom enjoyed spending time outdoors and cooking, especially his green chile verde.
He also loved reading and playing board and card games—especially Exploding Kittens, Qwixx, and Euchre—with his family.
Tom was a die-hard Michigan State Spartans fan.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Richard H. and Eleanor J. (Breseman) Harbaugh, both of Petoskey, MI, and sister, Karol Schulte.
He is survived by his wife, Gayle (Donaven) Harbaugh; sons, Aaron and Parker (Abbi Lynch) Harbaugh; brother, Tim (Gwen) Harbaugh, of Petoskey; nephew Michael (Kara) Harbaugh; niece, Leah (Rob) Senter-LaVanway; and two great-nieces and a great-nephew.
He is also survived by his golden retriever, Barkley.
“As long as we get the best out of ourselves, we are winners.”