Thomas G. LaFayette Jr.

Thomas G. LaFayette Jr.

Thomas G. LaFayette Jr.

Thomas G. LaFayette Jr., 63, of Arizona, formerly of Benton Harbor, died Aug. 2, 2019, at his home after a long battle with diabetes.

A graveside service will be at 11 a.m., Sept. 14 at Fairview Memorial Cemetery in Watervliet, followed by a celebration of his life at the Van Buren Sportsmen’s Club in Hartford.

Those wishing to sign the guestbook online can do so at

Tom is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he earned several medals for his service stateside and abroad. He grew up first in Fairplain and later in Hartford, the first son of Thomas and Ruby LaFayette.

As a child, he learned electronics, built and worked on miniature trains, and shared his father’s passion for motorcycles, fast cars and aviation. As he grew older, he continued his passion by acquiring and restoring his father’s Harley-Davidsons.

His father was a great influence, and bestowed upon Tom a work ethic that defined his life. His success and dedicated service to his community and his country can be directly attributed to his work ethic and his natural mechanical ability.

During high school, he played sports, and loved playing the trombone in the school band. He was always willing to help his bandmates. After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, and later divorced.

Tom entered the U.S. Air Force in 1973, and proudly served 16 years with distinction. The discipline and patriotism he learned in the Air Force never left him. After leaving the Air Force, he continued his service to his country by spending five years in Saudi Arabia and five years in Scottsdale, Ariz., in support of the Warfighter.

Always a patriot, always a wingman, Tom never let his friends and family down. He was a devoted son, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, friend and mentor.

He is survived by his siblings, Mark (Natalie), Dale (Toni) and Betty (Brian) Sliter; son, Christopher (Judith) and grandchildren Loralise, Jack and Jeromy; daughter, Angel (Aaron) Fox and grandsons Jonathan and Brendan; nephews, Kevin and Matthew. He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas G. LaFayette Sr., and Ruby Jewell LaFayette.

Donations can be made to the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service, or