OBITUARY

Thomas Edward Choate

March 22, 1938March 27, 2018
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Thomas Edward Choate passed away peacefully in his home on March 27, 2018 with his loving family nearby.

Born in Beaumont, TX on March 22, 1938 to J.P. and Juanita Choate, Tom graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School (Port Arthur, TX) in 1956. Tom married Peggy Barbin Choate, his high school sweetheart, on April 3, 1958. He then went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree from Lamar University in 1960. Tom and Peggy had two children, Carol Choate Russell and Jay Choate. He taught school in Port Arthur before accepting a position at First National Bank in Port Arthur, beginning his long career in banking. In 1973, the Choate family relocated to Nacogdoches as Tom became Vice President of Commercial National Bank. By 1975, he had been named President and CEO and served in this position until 1988. He continued to serve on the Board of Directors for nearly three decades before his retirement in 2014, totaling 50 years in banking. Aside from a remarkable career, Tom had a love for the community and Nacogdoches. He was one of the founders of the Nacogdoches Heritage Festival, and served as Chairman for the first two years. In addition he served as President of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Booster Club, and was a member of countless other clubs and organizations in Nacogdoches.

While all these accomplishments were something to be proud of, Tom was most proud of his family. He was a model of love, humility, and generosity, and never hesitated to sacrificially give anything he had to help his family and friends. He attended every event, game, and performance, and was always available to give wisdom and encouragement. Tom and Peggy’s door was always open for kids, grandkids, and neighbors to come by at any time of day. He lived his life serving others, his family, and the community of Nacogdoches.

Tom was preceded in death by his brother, Don Gardner, and parents, J.P. and Juanita Choate. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Peggy, daughter Carol Russell and husband Roger, son Jay Choate and wife Kim. Additionally Tom is survived by his grandchildren, Blake Russell and wife Ashley, Maci Choate and fiancé Dustin Wood, Allison Russell, Tori Dement and husband Lance, Blake Fincher and fiancée Emily Copeland, Brandon Fincher, Paige Carroll, and Grant Choate. He will be greatly missed by all his great grandchildren, Alli Anna, Emery, Clara, Nick, and expecting two more soon. The family would like to especially thank Jessica Montgomery and Rita McGowan from Accolade Homecare and Hospice for the love and care they gave to our family in these last days. Visitation for family and friends will be at Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Home on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 2:00 pm, immediately followed by the funeral service at 3:00 pm officiated by Tom and Peg's grandson Pastor Blake Russell, and Pastor Bobby Smith. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Park. Pallbearers are James Standley, Robin Dawley, Jerry Baker, Bill Ferrett, Bill Baugus, and Doug Matson.

Please visit www.CasonMonk-Metcalf.com to leave your online condolences and memories.

Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, Nacogdoches.

  • FAMILY

  • Don Gardner, Brother
  • J.P. Choate, Father
  • Juanita Choate, Mother
  • Peggy Choate, Wife
  • Carol Russell and husband Roger, Daughter
  • Jay Choate and wife Kim, Son
  • Blake Russell and wife Ashley, Grandson
  • Maci Choate and fiance Dustin Wood, Granddaughter
  • Allison Russell, Granddaughter
  • Tori Dement and husband Lance, Granddaughter
  • Blake Fincher and fiance Emily Copeland, Grandson
  • Brandon Fincher, Grandson
  • Paige Carroll, Granddaughter
  • Grant Choate, Grandson
  • Alli Anna, Great Granddaughter
  • Emery Russell, Great Granddaughter
  • Clara Russell, Great Granddaughter
  • Nick ., Great Grandson
  • Expecting two more soon, Great Grandchild
  • PALLBEARERS

  • Bill Baugus, Active Pallbearer
  • Bill Ferrett, Active Pallbearer
  • Dr. James Standley, Active Pallbearer
  • Jerry Baker, Active Pallbearer
  • Robin Dawley, Active Pallbearer
  • Doug Matson, Active Pallbearer

Services

  • Visitation Friday, March 30, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 30, 2018
REMEMBERING

Thomas Edward Choate

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Biography

Thomas Edward Choate (or as the grandkids called him: Pappy) passed away peacefully in his home on March 27, 2018 with his loving family nearby.

If you knew my Grandfather, you would have gathered quickly that he was not one to ever boast in his own accomplishments, though he had many. Most everything that I know about his successes in life I did not hear from him, but from others. This past Monday, I was blessed enough to spend a few hours at his bedside. While words were few between us, as he was struggling with pain, I did have the opportunity to go through a binder filled full of newspaper clippings. If there’s a record for Daily Sentinel appearances, Tom Choate has to be close to holding the title for the amount of times he appeared in the paper from 1975 - 1990. From becoming Commercial Bank President at the age of 37, to Chamber of Commerce president, Rotary Club, Booster Club, helping establish the Nacogdoches Heritage Festival, to numerous other organizations, and a 50 year career in banking… It is difficult to drive around Nacogdoches and not see Tom Choate’s fingerprints on the businesses, organizations, and institutions across this community. BUT, he would never tell you that.

He was never one to complain or draw attention to his own problems. Most people, outside of our family, didn't even know the extent of his sickness over the last few years. I recall a conversation my grandfather had recently with a gentleman who was struggling with a host of health issues. The conversation took its course and the man eventually asked Tom if he had struggled with any sickness. My grandfather quietly and reluctantly mentioned that he was fighting prostate and bone cancer, but quickly diverted attention away from himself and back to encouraging that gentleman.

Relationships were important to Tom, and if you were lucky enough to be a friend or family member, he made sure you knew how much you meant to him. He was kind, loving, and encouraging. He loved our family like no other. Regardless of the choices or mistakes we made, he was steadfast, always there to encourage, give wisdom, and support. He taught me how to love my own family well by the way he loved my grandmother, his children, and all his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He genuinely cared about other people, their interests, and their lives. My grandfather never was much of a fisherman in his adult life - although I do think he loved the water. When I was a teenager, they lived at Lake Nacogdoches. Pappy would bend over backwards to take me out on the boat so I could fish. Over this past year, fishing was a hobby that I picked back up. During my regular visits, my grandfather never failed to ask me how the fish were biting - regardless of how much pain he was in or how he felt, he wanted to talk to me about my latest tournament, or try to pay the entry fees for my next one. I will miss those talks dearly.

He was so generous. If someone was in need, he would figure out a way to meet that need… and don’t even try to tell him no. Once he made up his mind that he was going to help someone, it was set in stone.

One of my favorite verses comes from Micah chapter 6.

Micah 6:6-8

What Does the Lord Require? 6 b“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before cGod on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old? 7 dWill the LORD be pleased with1 thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil? eShall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”



These first two verses are a reminder that so often in life we look for meaning in all the wrong places. We have a tendency to put our faith, hope, and trust in the pleasures and successes that this world has to offer. But verse 8, lays it out for us clearly:



8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and fwhat does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,2 and to gwalk humbly with your God?

I believe this verse is a characterization of my grandfather. He had this figured out. We can go our whole lives and we can accomplish great things for ourselves and our community, but if we don't do justice, love kindness, or walk humbly with God, it is all a worthless legacy to leave behind. Tom knew what was important in life, he practiced these things, and demonstrated it for us to carry into the future. That is his greatest accomplishment.