Tommy grew up in Arlington, Texas. In his teens he became interested in business and became involved with the Junior Achievement Organization. During this time he helped his parents operate The Urie’s Gift Shop and after high school attended Arlington State College (now University of Texas at Arlington). For part time work Tommy joined his father in a small boat building business initially located on their large residential lot in Arlington.
The family relocated in the early 60’s to the Rio Grande Valley (Port Isabel) to continue building custom designed wood and fiberglass trimaran sailboats. Tommy continued his college education at the Pan American University in Edinburg (now University of Texas-Pan American) where he earned a business degree.
When Tom Sr. downsized the boat business in the 70’s, he and Tommy started a hardware store in the Port Isabel facility. Around the time of his Dad’s passing in 1988, Tommy began operating the hardware store with his wife Hazel. In the 1990’s Tommy and Hazel transitioned the hardware store to the first bowling center in Port Isabel. Clubs and leagues were formed. In addition to the bowling lanes, the center grew to include a retail bowling equipment store and a small restaurant noted for the best ice cream in Port Isabel! This time period in Tommy’s life was the high point of his 71 years with respect to personal achievements and happiness.
Tommy’s wife, Hazel, died in 2004 of an extended illness. He had become aware of his own health issues with a diagnosis of Parkinson in the late 90’s. He fought a good fight against Parkinson and will be remembered by staying active in family reunions as well as writing and publishing the Gaines Gazette for family and friends. Near the end Tommy and his wheel chair became the frequent greeter in the lobby of the skilled nursing facility where he resided.
Tommy will be remembered for his creativity in building structures as large as 55 ft. sailboat yachts and as small as children’s wooden penny banks. His positive outlook on life will be remembered by all the business contacts, friends and family that were a part of his life.
Tommy was preceded in death by his mother and father – Tom and Opal and his wife – Hazel. Tommy is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, a granddaughter and great grandson, nieces, nephews, and great nephews.