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Thomas D. McElfresh stepped into eternity Friday evening, Nov. 19, 2021. He was cherished by his wife of 39 years, Sandra; his only daughter, Rebecca Stroud, and his brother, Johnny Dotson. He was the son of Wayne McElfresh of Ford City, Pennsylvania, and Rosemarie McDill. He was the stepson of Thomas McDill of Gloucester Point, Virginia, all predeceased. Tom was self-employed in Gloucester County for 35 years as a builder, brick mason, and landscaper. Tom loved his work and took great joy in doing it well. He loved his family, his friends, and his church. His passion in life was simple. He loved the Bible. He was an extraordinary historian and teacher, having ensconced himself deeply in the study of God’s Word for 46 years. Tom’s humble, quiet knowledge was amazing, but his character shone even brighter.

He was honest, generous and had integrity. In 2002, Tom and Sandy were called as part-time missionaries. They had worked in Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, and Uganda. Their mission mostly centered in Uganda, teaching and equipping pastors deep in the villages. Tom’s chronological approach to the Word of God would excite and challenge these leaders to dig deeper into the riches of the scripture. They called him Omuzaire, which translates “wise and honored father.” He spiritually invested in them, taking them further into the scripture with each visit. The pastors finally honored him with his own African name: Mwesigwa, which means “Faithful.” He influenced many, and many will continue his work in rippling effects both geographically and generationally. Tom’s race is finished on earth. 

Heaven’s doors are now wide open, and he has heard those words he’s longed for: “Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant; (You are “Mwesigwa”), you have been FAITHFUL over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” -Matthew 25:23 NKJV

The family received friends at Hogg Funeral Home on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, from 6-7:30 p.m. A memorial service, conducted by Reverend Ray Goude Jr., was held at Gloucester Point Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, followed by a reception. In memory of Thomas, contributions may be made to Audio Scriptures Ministry at 760 Waverly Road, Holland, Michigan 49423. Services under the direction of Hogg Funeral Home & Crematory.