Thomas Frederick Nehlen (Big Tom), age 75, of Hartville, passed away peacefully Monday March 13, 2023 at Aultman Hospital. He was born May 19, 1947 in Canton to the late Frederick and Jean (Jones) Nehlen. He graduated from Lake High School in 1965. He drove Semi for Lattavo Bros. in Canton. Driving a big rig was his life and he was the best there was. He was awarded Driver of the Year in 1994. He drove for nearly thirty-nine years and he had well over a million miles, accident free, under his belt.
One day, long ago, Tom was in his semi hauling a load of steel down the interstate in North Carolina, maybe around 2 AM in the morning, when he said, “he heard a voice in the cab telling him to slow- up and watch out.” So he did, and sure enough as he topped the hill, there had just been a wreck. So, Tom pulled over to the side and jumped out and ran to the wrecked car. There was a lady, her legs were pinned in by the steering wheel. Tom worked and worked to free her. As he got her to safety she kept saying, “my baby, my baby”! He said, “what baby”? So he ran back to the car. The lady had just come from the laundromat and her clothes were strewn all over the back seat. Tom threw the clothes about and found the baby in the car seat crying. He worked and worked to get the belt unfastened. He finally got the baby freed and handed him to his mother, just as the car burst into flames. But, mother and baby were safe thanks to Tom. It was then that the cop arrived and took over. Tom got back in his semi and continued on his way. He was my unsung hero.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years Shirley (Fox) and their cat “Ziggy”; an uncle Tom C. Nehlen; a brother Tim (Diane) Nehlen; two nephews Christopher Nehlen and Brett (Michele) Nehlen; two great-nieces Isabella and Olivia.
A “special thanks” to all of those in the Aultman ISC Unit who cared for Tom. All of you did such a great job with him and also really helped Shirley through this most difficult time. Tom was a great guy and will be missed by friends and family alike.
Arnold Hartville 330-877-9364
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