Tom was born August 12, 1954 in Moscow to Richard R. and Royleen Chaney Crossler. He grew up and attended Moscow schools, graduating from Moscow High School in 1972. He was active in Scouting and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He then attended the University of Idaho to study music. While at the UI he met fellow music student Denise Gill. They were married on November 3, 1973 in Grangeville, Idaho. Early in their marriage he and his father-in-law owned and operated Gill’s Chevron station for four years. They returned to Moscow where Tom went to work for City North American Moving and Storage in January of 1980. Tom and his son, Keith later purchased the business in 2005.
Tom was a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church in Moscow where he was active on the board of trustees for many years taking his turn as chairman several times. During this time he was instrumental in rebuilding the clockworks in the bell tower so that it would chime again and the remodel of the church building. Always community minded, he followed his grandfather and father in joining the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department becoming the 3rd generation in Ladder Company 8 and the Rural Company. He ended his service after 32 years during which time he was elected as a Battalion Chief for 20 years and also served as a board member.
Music was truly Tom’s passion that began as young child in the school bands. He learned saxophone and bassoon, participating in orchestra and choir. High school brought directing the pep band as well as a trip to Europe with America’s Youth in Concert. While in Grangeville he directed the Methodist Church choir, the Camas Choristers Community Choir, the Border Days Cowboy band and The Jazzmen, a 20 piece band featuring music from the Big Band era. After returning to Moscow he was hired as the music director at Moscow First United Methodist Church where he served for 27 years, retiring this past December. Under his direction were a 25 voice chancel choir and four handbell choirs for both youth and adults. He loved directing his church choirs; choral music was special to him but teaching the children in the handbell choirs was especially fulfilling. Another highlight over the years was traveling with the premier youth bell choir, Tommy’s Tinklers, on a concert tour throughout Washington and Idaho to promote Christian music education. Taking a turn directing Palouse Harmony Chorus allowed him to enjoy the rich sounds of barbershop harmony. Classical music was also important to Tom and he played 2nd Bassoon for 30 years in the Washington Idaho Symphony where he also was active on their board of directors. Recently, Tom was honored to be initiated into Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity, as a Friend of the Arts. In 2014, he received the Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the Arts.
With all of his accomplishments, Tom was first and foremost a family man. He always wanted the best for his children and would give everything he had and more. Tom is survived by his wife of over 42 years, Denise, at their Moscow home; daughters, Laura (Chad) Huggard in North Ogden, UT, Crystal (Charles) Tibbals of Moscow and sons, Keith (Cassandra) Crossler and Andrew (Jaina) Crossler of Moscow. He also leaves eight grandchildren, his mother, Royleen Crossler of Viola and siblings, Charles (Mary Jo) Crossler of Viola, Donald (Debbie) Crossler of Coeur d’Alene and Marcy (Kevin) Taylor of Pasco. Tom was preceded in death by his father in April.
The funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM Saturday, September 3rd at the First United Methodist Church in Moscow. Rev. Debbie Sperry and Rev. William Green will officiate. After the service the Fire Department will escort Tom to his final resting place in the Viola Cemetery. A reception will follow at Moscow High School in the Commons.
Public viewing will be at Short’s Funeral Chapel on Friday from Noon until 8:00 PM and from 9:00 AM until service time at the church on Saturday.
The family suggests memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church Music Program, to the Sigma Alpha Iota band instrument repair fund, c/o Keeney Brothers Music Center in Moscow, the Washington Idaho Symphony, or to the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department, Company 8.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.com.