Tom was born October 26, 1925 in Springfield, Ill to Francis Springer Poor and Ruth Wiley Ruckel Poor, he was the second of 4 boys. His parents and their 4 young sons moved to California in 1930, they settled in Fresno then Kingsburg where Tom, with his blue eyes and straw-white hair looked like his Swedish neighbors. He learned a bit of Swedish, not all of it repeatable, and at 7 started selling magazines door-to-door.
The family moved to Bakersfield in 1941 where Tom finished his junior and senior years of school at Kern County Joint Union High School, now Bakersfield High School.
In 1943 Tom joined the Navy and asked to be trained for the new two-way radio technologies. After extensive electronics training he was assigned to the USS Mount Olympus AGC-8 which had been launched in October 1943 as an amphibious forces flagship, a floating command post. On September 2, 1945 Tom was aboard the Mt. Olympus in Tokyo Bay at the signing of the Japanese surrender which he watched from the bridge where he shared binoculars with the officers.
Tom was discharged from the Navy in 1946 after several trips aboard the Mt Olympus from Japan to Shanghai; Tom did not smoke so sold his ration of Lucky Strike cigarettes to fellow Navy men and bought Fuji film in Japan for 1 cent a roll which he sold in Shanghai for 60cents a roll. He came home with a nice black-market savings in his pocket.
In the summer of 1947 he worked at a mining camp at Saddleback Lake near Tioga Pass, first wiring the camp for electricity supplied by a propane generator then as cat operator when the cat man quit.
In 1948 he went to work for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. After working as a telephone system installer he helped install and maintain PT&T’s new Radio Telephone system.
In September 1949 he married Alberta June Watson at El Tejon School in Lebec.
Seeing an opportunity to build two-way radio systems for the oil fields and agricultural companies he and Alberta quit PT&T and started Bakersfield Electronics, now Communications Enterprises Inc. He was a pioneer in the establishment of two-way radio systems for private industry. He received the Lifetime Pioneer Achievement award from the Radio Club of America in 1990.
He and his daughter Barbara, as chaperone, were proud to be on the Bakersfield Honor Flight commemorating WWII veterans with a trip to Washington D.C. in 2018.
Tom started playing golf in his middle 60s. He enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow golfers and the after golf “socializing”. He and his son Paul won several golf tournaments at Bakersfield Country Club where he was a member of many years.
Tom and Alberta were long-time members of Millcreek Christian Church where they enjoyed the fellowship and friendship of many people.
Tom is survived by his wife of 73 years, Alberta and their 6 children, June Walsh (Tim), Ruth Phillips, Susan Mancuso (Lou), Tom Poor, Jr. (Peggy), Barbara Poor and Paul Poor, his grandchildren, Tim, April, Sarah, Hana, Alex, Cate, Melissa, Nichole, Ryan, Elizabeth, 16 great grand children and 1 great-great grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his parents Francis and Ruth Poor, his 3 brothers Bob, Harry, John, his son-in-law Rick Phillips and daughter-in-law Rebecca Poor.
Tom will be laid to rest at the National Cemetery near Arvin on December 19th at 9:15 AM. He will have an escort by the Patriot Guard and military honors at grave side.
Tom always liked a party. His final party will be held at Bakersfield Country Club on December 19th at 11:00 AM. Please RSVP at [email protected] .
Please no flowers. You may wish to remember Tom with a donation to Honor Flight Kern County (www.honorflightkerncounty.org ) or a charity of your choice.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.hillcrestmemorial.com for the Poor family.
Alberta June PoorWife
Honor Flight Kern County8200 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93311