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On December 25, 2023, Thomas (Tom) Joseph Whitman, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away at the age of ninety-three. He is preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Eleanor, his sisters, Mary, Jean and Helen and his brother, Louis (Jake). In passing Christmas morning, Tom joins his devoted wife of sixty-four years, Nancy, whom he missed terribly these past thirteen months. He is celebrating Jesus’ birthday in heaven with her. Tom leaves behind his children Thomas and Terri Whitman, David and Sue Whitman, Carolyn and Richard Garbinsky and Douglas and Yanina Whitman. Also celebrating his life are his grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Meredith and Josh, Caroline, Thomas Joseph; Jacob and Taylor, Reagan, Kennedy, Lincoln; Rachel and Mario, Liam, Ellie; Andrew and Jacque, Carter, Amelia; Caity and Mike, Selah, Cohen, Judah, Levi; Christopher, Nicholas and Angie; William and Henry. Tom also leaves behind his sisters Norma, Amy and Nick, Alice, Janet and Jim and sister-in-law, Mary Kay. There are a multitude of nieces and nephews in our family who loved him dearly as well.
Tom grew up in a family with eight siblings and has many fond memories of his childhood including; summers at Long Lake, making noodles with his mom and learning how to fix almost anything with his dad. After graduating from Doylestown High School, Tom attended Bowling Green University on a ROTC scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Following his graduation, Tom was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he attained the rank of First Lieutenant as a Drill Sergeant for new recruits. Looking back on his experience there, Tom would often say that it was one of the happiest times of his life, until he met his wife to be. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Tom moved back to Ohio and started his working career.
Soon after returning to Ohio, Tom met the love of his life on the steps of St. Peter’s Church in Akron. Tom was a groomsman for a good friend and Nancy (his future beloved) was a bridesmaid for her cousin. As Tom recounts, he saw the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen. Remarkably, the day after meeting Tom, Nancy told her friend that she had met the man she was going to marry. Less than fourteen months later they wed on September 6, 1958. Soon they welcomed their four children and loved the family and life they built in Doylestown.
Tom was a tireless worker both at his job with Firestone and at home for his family. His children cannot recall a time that someone came to the house to fix something. Dad always had it covered. In doing so, Tom taught his children patience, perseverance and creativity. He also could be counted on to help with his children’s school assignments. Some of the best dioramas and garden boxes in the class sprung from Tom’s handiwork. However, he never gave himself any credit for the children’s academic achievements, rather he attributed it to the intelligence passed on by his wife.
Tom loved Sts. Peter and Paul Church and School in Doylestown where he grew up and lived most of his life. Tom served as captain of the bingo crew on Saturday evenings and as an usher for Sunday mass for decades. Tom was always happy to help his wife, Nancy, who taught at the school, with projects and fund raisers to improve the school and help the students.
After many years, Tom retired from Firestone. Rather than easing into retirement, however, Tom and Nancy funneled their energies into a crafts business. The couple attended numerous arts and crafts shows throughout the years and formed lasting friendships with fellow vendors and customers alike. In the wintertime, he and Nancy traveled down to the shores of North Myrtle Beach where they often welcomed their children and grandchildren. While there, Tom was able to relax, read books voraciously and enjoy walking the beach daily with Nancy.
The lakehouse at Lake Buckhorn also provided many years of enjoyment for Tom and Nancy, and, especially, their many grandchildren. Among their favorite memories are July 4th celebrations on the pontoon, grandkids tubing behind the speed boat and family cookouts with Grandpa manning the grill.
Most recently, he found joy in his young adult grandchildren sharing their lives and adventures and especially the great grandbabies who were always so full of energy and love for Great Grandpa. Early in December, he shared lunch with siblings; Norma, Amy and Nick, Janet and Jim and Mary Kay. He spoke so fondly of the visit and reminiscing about their younger days. Saturday, December 23, he enjoyed a Christmas brunch with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was in good spirits and enjoyed giving each of the great grandchildren a book for Christmas.
Tom deeply loved his wife, his children and his extended family. He also loved God and his community. Tom was a man of love, faith and service. His is a life to celebrate.
We are so grateful to the outstanding and compassionate caregivers at Gables of Green and Traditions Hospice who cared for Tom and comforted his family. The family will have a private Celebration of Life. If you see fit, please make a donation to the charity of your choice, as Tom and Nancy supported so many, be especially kind, and enjoy a Milky Way candy bar or a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. These were Tom’s favorites. Online obituary and guest registry are available at www.zakmonbarrenfh.com
(Zak-Thacker & Monbarren, 330-658-2211)
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