Obituary: Thomas J. Verplank

Thomas J. Verplank, 72, died March 27 surrounded by family.

He is survived by his wife, Janice, of 42 years and his three children Johanna, Gerrit (Erin) and Dina (Matt) Verplank. He leaves behind three grandchildren, Jayden, Ashten and Bellarose Verplank and three siblings Rick Verplank, George Verplank and Kathy Boll.

He was preceded in death by his parents Carl and Evelyn Verplank and his brother C. Michael Verplank.

For those who knew and loved Tom, they called him ’Big Verp’. Once you met ‘Big Verp’ you understood the nickname. He towered among most and had a voice that matched his large 6 ‘4’ frame, but he had an easy smile and was a gentle soul.

Tom graduated from North Central High School and Purdue University. He spent his career as a teacher, school counselor and then went on to become the athletic director at Broad Ripple High School, however his real love was on a rugby field. As he would tell you his bum knee forced him out of a promising football career while playing for the Purdue University Boilermakers, but Indianapolis rugby became his fourth child.

Tom was one of the founding fathers of the Indianapolis Rugby Club and he also formed and coached the very first high school rugby team in Hamilton County.

Tom never knew a stranger, was a loyal friend and would open his door to anyone who needed a roof over their head. There are many ruggers from Indiana and beyond who know the true value of a Big Verp friendship. He would feed, house and clothe you and be there to share a drink with you at Connor’s Pub.

However what he was most proud of was his family. He glowed whenever speaking about his wife and reminiscing about their magical wedding day on a rugby pitch during half time in the snow. He would never miss his son’s rugby game or his son’s art shows. Tom would buy a painting from his daughter Dina, even though he had a stack of her art at home. He loved to share stories of his oldest daughter Johanna growing up, when she was his little sidekick. And when he found out his son and daughter were going to be tattoo artists, he was one their first clients.

Big Verp wanted the life he led to be celebrated. He wanted his children and grandchildren to live life, like he, with no regrets.

Please join the family in celebrating Tom’s life. The Celebration of Life will be held April 3 from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Firefly Tattoo 429 E. Vermont St., Indianapolis.