Thomas was born on February 9, 1934 and passed away on Thursday, August 2, 2018. Thomas was a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Great Grandad Tom was blessed in life to love and to be loved by six generations of his family. Tom was the third and youngest child of parents Paul and Marcella Dickey. He survived the passing of his older brother and sister, Paul and Marcelle. His life expressed the quiet strength of his father, and the warmth and grace of his mother. Tom’s responsibilities increased early in life upon his marriage to Barbara Josephine Arrigo. Before either reached the age of 21 they shared the joys and challenges of adding three children to their Silver Spring, Maryland home. They remained husband and wife for 57 years also living in Rockville, MD., Warrenton, VA. and Ocean City, MD. where Barbara passed away after a lengthy struggle with cancer. Tom lived the next nine years of his life unselfishly, albeit heartbroken. Tom and Barbara grew to be one and, sadly, that part of him was no longer physically present. Tom carried Barbara in his heart always.
In spite of his loss and many difficult physical ailments Tom refused to allow bitterness into his life. He remained resilient, personable and inviting, always preferring to move forward. His family referred to him as a tank. His warmth and vitality were complemented by other creative gifts that God deposited in his life. He was both singer and musician, and an accomplished master craftsman. His tenor voice was vibrant and easy, his trumpet acrobatic and soulful. As a young adult, Tom suffered an injury and lost a primary finger necessary to play the trumpet. He found his healing in the harmonica. His chromatic harp was heard across the community on many summer evenings. Neighbors often expressed pleasure and amazement at his musical abilities.
To support his new family Tom developed his skills as an apprentice machinist. He also found time to log sufficient flying hours to receive his small aircraft pilot’s license. And, to supplement income he designed and hand-built cabin cruisers in the side yard of his family’s home. The quality of his work led to relationships with boat builders and manufacturers focused on meeting the needs of the Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay boating communities. In his later twenties investors approached Tom to develop a custom boat-building site in Annapolis. Instead Tom elected to accept an offer from the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) where his work focused on the development and fabrication of jet propulsion nozzles associated with Project Mercury. Five years later Tom elected to take a job with IBM where he remained for 30 years.
Tom and Barbara enjoyed their family in all settings and especially at the beach. Special times with his children included reading comics on Saturday morning while breakfast cooked and exploring the heavens through the family telescope. Tom and Barbara were dedicated, loving grandparents to their grandson Nathan. Nathan brought tremendous joy to their lives that only increased when he introduced his future wife Margot to the family. Tom loved spending time with Nathan, Margot and his great-grandsons Graham, Evan and Joshua. The boys increased his laughter and he was thankful for what he described as three blessings the Lord added to his family. Family life also included Tom and Barbara’s hosting traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas ‘marathons’ where family attendance was strongly encouraged.
In addition to family, Tom found pleasure in designing, building and flying model sailplanes, and enabling the development of fellow remote control (RC) hobbyists. Barbara supported the close friendships Tom shared within the local DC RC gliding communities. Tom supported the close friendships that grew out of Barbara’s political work in Montgomery County. Tom and Barbara made their home at the Maryland shore after Tom retired from IBM. They attended the United Methodist Community Church at Ocean Pines where Tom received the comfort and support of his church family subsequent to Barbara’s passing in 2008.
Tom returned to Montgomery County in 2013 to be closer to his family. He attended Church of Redeemer and established himself in the Leisure World community in Silver Spring, MD. Tom passed away peacefully on August 2 surrounded by his family. Many of his final words were expressions of faith and confidence in the Lord he loved, his savior Jesus Christ. Tom is survived by family members daughter and son-in-law Sharlee and Steve Alde, son and daughter-in-law Brent and Judy Dickey, daughter Laura Dickey, nephew and wife Walt and Karen Dickey, niece and husband Marty and Tom Fuller, grandson and wife Nathan and Margot Dickey, and great-grandsons Graham, Evan and Joshua Dickey. Tom’s final wishes were that each family member would come to understand their need for salvation and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ, that none would be lost for eternity.