Thomas Edward Bear

December 22, 1951October 5, 2021

Thomas Edward Bear (Thom), 69, of Leawood, Kansas, transitioned peacefully surrounded by his family on October 5, 2021.

Thom was preceded in death by his parents Thomas L. Bear and Virginia Peacock. Thom was born to parents Thomas L. Bear and Virginia Peacock on December 22, 1951, in Kansas City, Missouri. Thom graduated from Raytown High School in 1970 and received a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from University of Missouri - Columbia in 1974 where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Legend has it many a prank and joke in the DU House at Mizzou in the early 1970’s could be attributed to Thom and friends.

Thom was an entrepreneur who owned and operated several restaurants in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area throughout the decades including Bear’s Barbecue and Joe’s Barn in Stanley, Kansas. His leadership in the food service industry was recognized by his peers in 1989 when he was elected the president of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.

Thom also had a lifelong love for animals, most notably his family’s dogs and cats. Thom’s fondness for animals was fostered during his tenure as Assistant Director of the Kansas City Zoo. During his time at the Zoo, Thom helped lay the foundation for the Zoo’s modern expansion and was a champion for the institution.

Thom retired as Chief Operating Officer of Earp Distribution in 2017. Post-retirement he relished spending time with Carmen, and he nurtured the friendships he forged in high school and college by forming the “ROMEO” (Really Old Men Eating Out) Club. During retirement he enjoyed gardening, keeping his car scrupulously clean, cruising the aisles of Costco, and being the world’s greatest “dog father” to Sparky and Rocco.

Thom is survived by his wife Carmen of 46 years, daughter Marilee Bear (grandsons Preston Rhodes & Jenson Rhodes), son Tom Bear, son and daughter-in-law Brian and Erin Bear, and sister Sharyn Bear Davis. Thom was a loving, devoted and humorous father, husband, brother, grandfather and friend who will be missed immensely.

Memorial contributions may be made in Thom's memory to National Kidney Foundation at 9218 Metcalf Avenue, #424, Overland Park, KS 66212. Online at Please make note it is for the 'Kansas Office'.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Thomas Edward Bear

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Diane Trimble

October 13, 2021

Thom is missed around our neighborhood without a doubt. His wry sense of humor made him delightful to talk with. We had a little white Maltese named Jack who Thom harassed nightly from the window of his car. Jack knew the sound of his car engine and would race to the window and bark if he happened to be inside when Thom came home. There was something about going to Bo Ling but I wasn’t invited lol
We miss you Thom and hope Carm will turn to us if she needs anything.
Diane and Scott Trimble

Doug Phillips

October 12, 2021

Miss you Fuzzy.
Off to the big restaurant in the sky.
Teresa really liked sharing Facebook quips with you.