Thomas "Tom" Whatley '49 June 22, 2023 11:35 AM updated: June 22, 2023 11:46 AM
Thomas H. "Tom" Whatley
August 27, 1927 — June 13, 2023
Thomas (Tom) H. Whatley died surrounded by loved ones in his home on the evening of June 13, 2023.
Tom was born to Thomas and Betty Love Whatley on August 27, 1927 in Lewisville, Arkansas, but he became a card-carrying Texan at age ten when his family moved to Tyler, Texas. In Tyler, Tom was active in Boy Scouts of America and became a Life Scout. After attempting to enlist in the military at age 16 and told to wait a year, Tom decided to enroll at Tyler Junior College until he was of age to serve his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Tom, or “Tex” as his Navy buddies knew him, spent a year at Naval Station Great Lakes (Chicago, IL) in radar school and was honorably discharged when the war ended.
After the war, Tom enrolled at Texas A&M University to study engineering and graduated as a proud member of the Class of ‘49. Just before his final semester, he married his wife Irene–the nursing student he met in Chicago. He spent his final semester showing his new bride everything Aggieland had to offer. In fact, he did such a good job that they decided to retire in Bryan in 1992 after a fulfilling engineering career with Bryant Heating & Cooling (Texarkana, AR), the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (Texarkana, AR), General Electric (Cincinnati, OH and Richland, WA), Collins Radio (San Antonio and Dallas, TX), and the United States Postal Service (Memphis, TN and New Orleans, LA). In retirement, Tom was an active member of The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University and volunteered as an AARP Tax Aide for over 20 years where he became District Coordinator in addition to Tax Preparer.
Tom’s gifts of service to his family, his country, and his community will continue to bear fruit as Tom believed our lives, learnings, and a good joke were always meant to be shared. For this reason, his home and bar were always open.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Betty Reynolds, daughter Patti Moore, and granddaughter Jennifer Prado.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of nearly 74 years, Irene. Also carrying his memory are his son Thomas (Phil) and wife Cheryl; daughter Linda and husband Al; son in-law David Moore; five grandchildren and their spouses; and six great-grandchildren.
The family would like to share profound gratitude with Bluebonnet Health Services Hospice for their help in providing comfort for Tom during his final days.