Thomas Francis McCabe Jr.
May 15, 1941 – June 17, 2020
Thomas Francis McCabe, Jr., age 79, died peacefully at home in Arlington, Virginia, with both of his children, Jane and Nick, at his side at 12:39 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2020. His time had come to reunite with his beloved wife of 52 years, Karin, who died on November 1, 2018. His medical diagnosis was “refractory depression, complicated by chronic vascular disease”, but to all of us who knew him well, he needed to be with Karin, despite trying so very hard to start a new life without her.
Tom, or Tommy as he was known as a child, was born on May 15, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. His mother was Berget Nilsen ( always known as Tula, an affectionate Norwegian nickname), and his father was Thomas Francis McCabe, Sr. Tommy was the youngest of their three children, and grew up with his oldest sister, Patricia, and older brother, Michael. Their family was the first to move into the newly completed public housing projects in Red Hook, as their father worked in the local shipyards. Because his father was working in support of the war efforts, and with the help of Tula’s younger brother George, Tommy’s parents were able to purchase a middle class row house on Bay 13th Street in Brooklyn when Tommy was a baby. Tommy spent a very happy childhood there and his family attended St. Finbar’s Catholic Church, where he was married and where his daughter Jane was baptized.
Tommy attended elementary school at P.S. 163, and St. Francis Preparatory School, which was a boys Catholic High School at the time, run by the Order of Franciscan Brothers in Brooklyn. It was here that his love of science and music was cultivated. When his father died suddenly when he was just 17 years old, the school provided him with a scholarship so that he could complete his education there. This is something that he talked about often and appreciated his entire life. The Franciscan Brothers stepped up to provide him the love and care that he needed after losing his father.
Tom received a nomination and full scholarship to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, and graduated with a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering in July of 1963. After graduation, he was hired by the Moore McCormack Steamship Company for one year as a Third Assistant Engineer and traveled to the African Continent and the Baltic Region maintaining and operating the ship’s engines.
He was awarded a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in June of 1968 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Lt. JG in September of 1969. He worked as a Systems Management Engineer for Singer Information Services Company in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was extraordinarily proud of his work on the Apollo Space Program. Tom had complete technical responsibility for programming the Apollo Mission Simulator which involved system design, coding, debugging, and field integration for three of the simulator’s computers.
He was hired by the State of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources in 1971, and spent the remainder of his work life as a state employee in Annapolis, Maryland, working for various agencies as a programmer, project manager, and budget analyst. He retired in 2006 after a satisfying and successful 35 year career. He loved serving the State of Maryland, where he made many friends, and especially enjoyed his brief commute, playing classical music on his upgraded car stereo systems. He worked in Annapolis’ Historic District, and was well known at the local coffee shop for his daily bad jokes and friendliness to all he met. He came home from work every day at 5:15 pm for the entirety of his career, for the true measure of his life was found in his devotion to his family.
Tom married Karin Margaretha Pettersson on July 30, 1966 and they celebrated 50 years of their marriage together with their children and grandchildren in Boulder, Colorado, in 2016. Their daughter Jane Marie was born on February 28, 1968, and son Nicklas James was born on January 11, 1971. They lived and raised their children in their home on Pointer Ridge Drive in Bowie, Maryland for almost 50 years. Tom is survived by his two children, Jane and Nick, their spouses, Florian Zeender and Sandi Foy McCabe, and his four beloved grandchildren, Marcus Kodi Zeender, Ellie Alexis McCabe, Ainsley Lauren McCabe, and Kalea Marie Zeender. He is also survived by his oldest sister, Patricia McCabe, and older brother, Michael McCabe. After his wife died, Tom reunited with his college sweetheart, Mary Incarnato, whom he planned to marry on April 11, 2020, which was delayed due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Tom’s life can be characterized as a good man who lived a good life, giving of himself to others and making the world a better place through Kings Point’s motto of “Acta non Verba” which means “Deeds, not Words.” Tom consistently gave his time and energy to others. He was fully present and engaged in raising his children to adulthood, and took an active role in building close relationships with each of his four grandchildren. He valued education, being kind to others, and helping others. He always displayed a joy for life in his upbeat attitude, high energy, and intellectual curiosity. He was a man who was never bored and continued to teach himself new things up until the last few weeks of his life.
Tom’s interests included all things technically related. Computers were his passion, and he was well known among his friends and family for being “on call” for tech support. He always had computers in various states of repair in his house, and never accepted a penny in payment for his efforts. His wife Karin frequently received Christmas presents of whatever tech gadget was new at the time.
Tom loved music, especially classical, opera, and country music. He hand built the stereo system in his house, and his children grew up listening to Mozart, Bach, and Bocelli in addition to Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, John Denver, and Cat Stevens. He played the trombone in the marching band in both high school and in college, and lamented that he was a mediocre player as there never was any money for music lessons growing up. It gave him great joy to support the musical talents of two of his grandchildren, Marcus and Ellie, as this was something he could never pursue himself. Because he was not that athletic as a child, he lived vicariously through the athletic accomplishments of Jane and Nick, as well as proudly cheering on his two youngest granddaughters, Ainsley and Kalea, at their various sporting events.
Tom spent 25 years in a leadership role at Chesapeake Toastmasters in Crofton, Maryland. As we all knew, he loved to talk and Toastmasters provided him the ideal outlet to share his enthusiasm for speaking and mentoring the members of the organization. Cars were also a passion of Tom’s, and weekends were spent meticulously detailing and maintaining his vehicles, which all ran for over 20 years each. All of his weekend chores in the fall and winter were built around making sure he could watch his beloved Washington Redskins, and in the summer spending time with friends and family at Pointer Ridge Swim and Racquet Club.
Tom developed an appreciation for delicious food, as his own mother was not interested in cooking and had the attitude that “if it tastes too good, people will eat more of it!” He always enjoyed the Italian cuisine of his sister in law, Prudy McCabe, and his wife Karin’s Swedish culinary skills were legendary. In his last year, he savored the meals that Mary prepared for him. He loved it when Nick came home for a visit, as he would say, “When the Prince is home, the King will eat!” One of his favorite words towards the end of his life was “Abbondanza!” which means “Abundance” in Italian. This one phrase summarizes the life of this wonderful man, who lived an abundant life in every way, and he shall be missed by all who knew him.
A virtual live streamed memorial service will be held on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 11 AM. His immediate family will be physically in attendance, and in the interest of everyone’s safety and health, we ask that no additional guests arrive in person. A slide show of Tom’s life will be shown at the end of the service. Both the memorial service and slide show will be available for viewing online afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Student Tuition Assistance and Relief Fund for St. Francis Preparatory High School in New York. Please note in the comments section, “In Memory of Thomas Francis McCabe, Class of 1959”. Please see the link below to donate.
- St. Francis Preparatory High School
Virtual Memorial Service
Friday, June 26, 2020
Thomas Francis McCabe Jr.
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
June 28, 2020
Condolences to the McCabe family. Our families spent many an hour at PRS&R over the years. Bill and Tom spent even more talking, not swimming, after they both retired. Tom came to visit Bill after we moved to Collington to "straighten out" his computer and make sure he could get his music. He was a kind, generous man whose zest for life was contagious. May his soul rest in peace.
Cathy & Wally Hobart
June 26, 2020
Dear Jane & Nick,
Your memorial service for your Dad was a PERFECT reflection of your Dad. Your beautiful memories that you shared with all of us brought back many of our experiences with both your Dad & Mom. The contributions of your beautiful children surely made your Dad smile.
We will miss him just as we continue to miss your Mom. Bless you all & thank you.
June 26, 2020
Dear Jane & Nicklas you both did your parents proud with their services after passing. As next door neighbors, raising our families, your family was like an extended family to ours. The service and slide show brought back so many wonderful memories. Thank you and your families for sharing your pictures and family stories. Karin and Tom were such positive, generous and caring people. May they Rest In Peace. God bless.
June 26, 2020
To the family,
What a beautiful service and honoring of a wonderful man. I loved all the contributions and thoroughly enjoyed the personal stories and the slide show. He lived a full life filled with love. May he rest in peace.
Sending you all love and virtual hugs.
June 26, 2020
Thank you for sharing the beautiful memorial service in which you just honored your dad's life., and the special memories and moments that will stay in your hearts and ours for ever. We loved your parents and your extraordinary families. You are so blessed. Hugs, love, and unending prayers
Pat and Charlie
Bob and Sharon Michelson
June 24, 2020
I (Bob) met Tom and Karin when my son was playing various sports with the South Bowie Boys and Girls Club and he played with against their son Nick. I got to know them better as my son played with Nick and my then next door neighbors - the Pettricone's.
Over the years we socialized with Tom and Karin at Pointer Ridge Swim and Raquet Club. Almost daily at the pool, we would stand in and around the pool and talked and talked. I loved talking to Tom about growing up in New York City - he in Brooklyn and me in Queesn and Nassau County and rooting for our New York bseball teams - he for the Dodgers and me for the then New York Giants. Tom told great stories about his life experiences that were so enjoyable.
We will miss him and Karin. May his memories be a blessing and a source of comfort to his loved ones.
Bob and Sharon Michelson
June 24, 2020
Mary introduced me to Tom last summer. It was wonderful to see how happy they were and looking forward to being married. I am truly sorry for the lost of such a special man.
June 23, 2020
Tom, Gerry, and me spent many nights playing doubles tennis in the fall and winter, first at the bubbles at Whitemarsh Park(tom thought the price was too high) so we went to the bubble at Watkins Park(less money Tom was happy)But I thought he was Irish not Scottish. We all knew that if we needed computer help, call Tom. Or when he and Karin would join the neighborhood pinochle
group. He will be greatly missed
June 22, 2020
Rest in Peace Tom!
Condolences to the family.
john & heather gossart
Former PR neighbors
June 20, 2020
We are sorry to hear of the loss of Tom, our PRD neighbor of many years.
Although our families didn’t socialize as a group, we were connected in that our children were classmates and friends.
Also, I grew up in Bensonhurst Brooklyn, on Bay 14 th St and am very familiar with
St. Finbar’s and Father Donovan.
Our best regards to Jane and Nick.
Your parents were very nice people .
Alicia and Tom Chin
June 20, 2020
The one that I have is with His mother know to me as Aunt Tula it was the last memory I have of her My mother Eleanor McCabe Peacock R.I.P. . We were returning to my home in Florida and Aunt Tula was in the hospital after a serious car accident we stopped to visit her
My prayers and thoughts are with the family at this time in his passing. God bless you all.
June 19, 2020
When my husband John went for a ‘stroller ride’ with our twins, Lisa and Eric In the Newly built Pointer Ridge neighborhood, he noticed someone working in his yard wearing Swedish clogs ( wooden shoes)! John had a pair just like them, giftet to him by his Norwegian mother-inlaw. He stopped and asked if he was Norwegian! ‘Yes, and my wife is Swedish’, said the guy, his name was Tom McCabe! In the conversation, John learned that Tom and Karin had a daughter, Jane, who was born on the same day as our twins. We became good friends and celebrated the common birthday of Jane and the twins for a few years, and was part of each others life ever since. I shall miss them both, and hope they have all found each other in Heaven.