Tom Oar Obituary: The Life And Legacy of A Mountain Man


Tom Oar, a figure synonymous with the rugged American wilderness, passed away at his home in Florida, surrounded by his wife and family. At the age of 79, the famed star of the History Channel’s “Mountain Men” left behind a legacy marked by a profound connection with nature and a life led on his own terms.

Early Life And Career

Born in 1943 in Rockford, Illinois, Tom Oar grew up under the influence of his father, Chike Oar, a celebrated figure in the US Wild West Shows of the 1980s and early 1990s. With a childhood echoing the tales of cowboys and rodeo champions, Tom naturally gravitated towards the rodeo life, excelling as a rider and earning acclaim for his skill and dedication. Yet, the pull of a life intertwined with nature, inspired by his fur-trapper grandfather, eventually led Tom and his wife Nancy Oar to the secluded expanse of Montana’s Yaak River Valley in 1970. It was here that they erected their log cabin and embraced a life dictated by the rhythms of the wild.

Living Off The Land

In Montana, Tom and Nancy’s life was a testament to self-sufficiency and harmony with nature. Their days were filled with hunting, fishing, and trapping, the fruits of which provided not just sustenance but also materials for their handmade leather goods. Despite the challenges posed by nature and the occasional threats from poachers, the couple found solace in the untouched beauty of their surroundings. Tom’s expertise and lifestyle caught the eye of the History Channel, leading to his appearance on “Mountain Men” in 2012. His genuine demeanor, love for his family, and adept survival skills earned him a special place in the hearts of viewers across the nation.

Retirement And Death

As the years advanced, Tom and Nancy began considering a quieter life, closer to family. The couple, who had frequently visited Florida, decided to make it their permanent home in 2020, bidding farewell to their life in Montana. On September 22, 2023, Tom Oar passed away peacefully in his Florida home. His departure was felt deeply by his loved ones, including his wife Nancy, his son Chad, grandchildren, and friends. Despite health challenges towards the end, Tom’s indomitable spirit remained unbroken.

With an estimated net worth of around $200,000 at the time of his passing, primarily accrued through his craft and television appearances, Tom Oar’s life was rich in experiences far beyond material wealth. His story, a blend of courage, resilience, and a profound bond with nature, continues to inspire those who seek a life less ordinary. As a loving family man and a quintessential mountain man, Tom Oar’s legacy is etched in the annals of a life authentically and passionately lived.