Tom Duffy, the owner of Excel Drilling and Bozeman Hot Springs gave his life in a helicopter crash while fighting fires in Oregon on August 24, 2020. He was 40 years old and died a hero.
Anyone who knew Tom knew he was larger than life, both in stature (6’10”) and in everything he did. When God opened a door he didn’t walk, he ran. Tom was born and raised in Bozeman, MT. He attended Mount Ellis Elementary, Mount Ellis Academy and then played basketball for the Bobcats at Montana State University. As a sophomore, Tom led the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots and the team in 3-point field goal percentage. He did this while missing half the conference games because, as a Seventh-day Adventist, Tom observed the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. Through that entire time, he kept God by his side and let Him lead wherever he needed to go. Tom was big but God is bigger.
Tom was easy to like with his big smile and infectious laugh. It was not uncommon to see Tom on the phone working through an employee’s personal life issue or talking to a new friend whom he met while working on his never-ending projects.
His dreams and aspirations were as big as he was. He built Excel Drilling from the ground up and made it not only into a very successful business but created another family of employees with relationships that will last a lifetime. He bought the Bozeman Hot Springs with dreams and an action plan already in place. The outside oasis at the hot springs is the realization of his dream because of his endless research, passion, grit, and drive to make a dream reality.
Even before all that his family and friends were his world. His greatest accomplishment was being a father to his three beautiful children. His wife Robyn worked by his side for 18 years in every adventure he went on. His best friend was his father who taught him to be the man that he was. For someone who didn’t like to talk, Tom never shied away from being there for his friends who became his brothers.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for another.” John 15:13
He is survived by his wife (Robyn), children (Cohen 10, Sawyer 8, Makenna 6), parents (Mark and Pam Duffy), sister and brother-in-law (Ashley and David Bowen), brother and sister-in-law (Tyler and Jackie Duffy), grandfather (Jack Larrabee and his wife Cathy) and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A private memorial service for friends and family will be held at Bridger Bowl Sunday, September 6th.
In lieu of flowers we ask that donations be made. Since his world was his family, we would like to support, in his honor, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation which helps grieving families honor their fallen hero and the Family Promise of Gallatin Valley which empowers homeless families with children to achieve self-sufficiency through partnerships, services, and advocacy.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Family Promise of Gallatin Valley