Thomas Albert Fry III

November 13, 1944August 7, 2019

Thomas Albert Fry, III of Dallas, passed away suddenly from natural causes at his home on August 7, 2019. He was a beloved man who loved life and is deeply mourned by his family and his many friends and colleagues.

Tom was born in Richmond City, Virginia on November 13, 1944 to Rev. Thomas A. Fry, Jr. and Leila Louise Sullivan Fry. Tom came to Dallas when his father was called to serve as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas in the summer of 1959. He attended Hillcrest High School where he played football and ran track, and remained a proud “Panther”. He received his B.S. in Political Science from Trinity University, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University.

Tom had an extensive career in government and the private sector. In 1999, Tom was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate to serve as Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) in Washington, D.C. having served as Deputy Director two years prior. BLM is the federal agency that manages 264 million acres of federally owned lands, as well as oil and gas and mineral resources underlying another 300 million acres of federal and privately owned lands. While at the BLM, one of his proudest achievements was signing the Bureau directive to create the National Landscape Conservation System that consolidated all of the BLM conservation units into a cohesive system, much like the National Park system.

Before coming to the BLM, Tom was Chief of Staff for Interior Deputy Secretary John Garamendi, a position in which he provided leadership and policy oversight for special departmental initiatives, as well as Director of the Minerals Management Service from 1993 – 1994. In that capacity, he was responsible for the exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas, and other minerals on the Nation's Outer Continental Shelf. Tom also oversaw the collection of revenues for minerals development on Federal and Indian lands.

After Tom’s government service, he became the Executive Director of the National Oceans Industry Association (NOIA) from 2001 until he retired in 2010. Tom also served on the boards of Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., Plains Exploration & Production Co., Pogo Producing Co. LLC, as well as the nonprofit National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Prior to 1993, Tom was active in the Clinton-Gore campaign, and was Vice President of American Natural Resources, Inc., a Dallas natural gas processing and transmission company where he handled analysis and legal review of all aspects of the firm's business. At the U.S. Department of Energy in Dallas, Tom was Regional Council where he supervised 25 attorneys involved in every phase of the oil and gas industry. He also served as Director of the Houston Field Office of the Economic Regulatory Administration, supervising some 60 auditors working to enforce federal price controls. Tom was in private law practice for two years with the Dallas firm of Cooper, Hayner, Miller and Long, and he was an Assistant Attorney General of Texas and Assistant Chief of the State's Anti-Trust Consumer Protection program.

Tom served on active duty in the U.S. Army for more than two years, attaining the rank of Captain. He was Assistant Team Commander of a U.S. Nike Hercules unit supporting NATO forces, and was later assigned to develop policy and administer the Special Ammunition Release Program for ninety-six units in four European countries, and received the Army Commendation Medal.

Tom’s parents precede him in death. He is survived by his wife of 5 years, Melanie L. Beller; his son, Thomas Helm Hocker, wife Julie, and grandchildren Ryan, Reid, and Lily; and his brother Charlie Fry.

A “Celebration of Life” event will be announced at a later date in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a tribute donation to the American Heart Association, at


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Thomas Albert Fry III

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Charlie Fry

August 18, 2019

The greatest brother and friend ever!!!
We had great parents!

Charlie Fry

August 18, 2019

Memories of my Brother

Charlie Fry

August 18, 2019

Wonderful Memories!

Cindy Bean

August 13, 2019

I am one of a group of 4 girls who grew up together in Wichita, KS. The group included Tom’s wife Melanie. We were smart girls with determination and drive. Melanie also had strong opinions and was very happy to vocalize them. (That is true but also funny). Her goal was politics and Washington DC and she did this at a young age just out of graduate school. Flash Forward: The four of us are still tight friends. We were elated when Melanie finally married Tom. She had married a man who could debate with her equally. He was instantly a friend of ours. Thank you so much Tom for giving Melanie your love and healthy debate. As best friends of Melanie, we grieve your passing but please know Tom, us girls stick together and she is going to be OK. Mel Bel- I know you will carry the strength you have always had as you move forward. And of course, the foursome is there with you. My condolences to the entire Fry family.

Dan Kennedy

August 13, 2019

We had Melanie and Tom to the house in early July, the news of Tom's passing is so heartfelt. We had met Tom a few times over the years, I will remember the laughs and playful conversations.

Dan and Kathy Kennedy

Jan and David Goss

August 13, 2019

We just met Tom and his wife Melanie at a wedding for Payne and Kelly. Both were so fun and funny. It was a shock to hear of Tom's passing. We will remember of him fondly and smile when we remember his lost luggage story and buying his clothing for the wedding at Walmart!

Walt Rosenbusch

August 13, 2019

Our friendship began on a day back in 1993. I had traveled to DC to meet with Bob Armstrong about a position within the Clinton Administration. Ultimately he was appointed MMS Director and I was appointed to Bob’s staff with a portfolio that included working with MMS and Tom. So began our professional and personal relationship. I remember during the first years of working at DOI, Tom would hold his staff meetings every Monday right after lunch. During football season he would begin his meetings with “How about them Cowboys!” It was always good natured but it showed his bond with Texas.

In the early days of our relationship, we traveled out west meeting with constituents, promoting the administration’s energy agenda. It was during those trips that I learned more about Tom and learned from him. When I was MMS Director and Tom was BLM Director, I continued to learn from him. Tom would host the “501 Club” every Friday – even if he was on travel. From this experience I learned about when alcohol could be consumed on premises after 5 pm. I tried not to miss a Friday just so that I could meet and have fellowship with the others within DOI. It was his nature to always bring people together and it served him well both personally and professionally.

When Tom and I completed our tenure with DOI, he stayed in DC and went to NOIA as their President. I went home to Texas, but we always stayed in touch – just not as often as we used to. When I went to work for a trade association representing a segment of the oil and gas industry, I called on Tom from time to time seeking his advice and counsel. He was always generous with his time.

He and Melanie deserved more time together – to enjoy one another. He deserved more time with his son and his wife and with his grandkids. He left us sooner than he should, but left us with great memories. I will miss my friend.

Lori Arguelles

August 13, 2019

The world has lost a truly good man. Tom, I'll always hold a special place in my heart for you as an extraordinary example of a true southern gentleman. Melanie and family, my deepest sympathy for your loss.

Charlie Fry

August 13, 2019

He was my idol and like a wonderful second father growing up. He was my best friend. We ran 10k's together and even two Marathons together. Unfortunately we grew apart in later years, which I hugely regret, but I always loved him dearly and thought of him often. I will miss him. He was always a kind and caring person, I am sure he is in Heaven with the Lord and Mom and Dad.
Love you Bro.

Melanie Beller

August 11, 2019

Picture of Tom Fry, and wife, Melanie Beller.

This was a lovely last trip together July 25 - August 1, 2019 in Bar Harbor, Maine.