Thomas James Decker, 82, of Mt. Vernon passed away June 10th at the Valley View Assisted Living Facility. No services are planned at this time.\n\nThomas was born on August 24, 1933 in Phelps Wisconsin to Thomas M. and Hazel (Kranke) Decker. He was raised by his mother and grandparents on their farm in Phelps. He recalled with fondness the freedom and beauty of the farm and Wisconsin woods. It was there that his love of nature first took root.\n\nAs a young man he lifeguarded on the beaches of Florida, and later he saw much of the West working as a locomotive fireman for the railroad. He fished in Alaska, prospected in Nevada, and worked in the woods of Oregon. The greatest joy of his life was raising his son, John. John preceded his father in death in 1990.\n\nHe was an avid fisherman and hunter, but most of all he enjoyed mushrooming. He would come back from camp with a truckload full of morels, boletus, and even puffballs too big to fit in a 5 gallon bucket. In the woods he found not only mushrooms, but also friends; they would become lifelong friendships.\n\nDecker is gone but the trees, hills, and streams that he loved remain.