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Swan Funeral Home

1224 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT

OBITUARY

Thomas Gregory Mathers

March 16, 1941October 14, 2019

Thomas Gregory Mathers, 78, of Old Saybrook, CT, surrounded by loving family, passed away on October 14, 2019 from complications of an extended illness. Born in Kansas City, MO, he grew up in Dunn Loring, VA, graduating from McLean High School where he was involved in drama and music activities. After receiving a BA degree from Wesleyan U. in Middletown, CT, he married Nancy Carolyn Barlow in 1965. They moved to Old Saybrook where they raised their family and lived for over fifty years. For several years Tom served in the U.S. Army Reserve. Tom had a 30-year career at IBM as a systems engineer and analyst, serving many important corporate clients throughout Connecticut. After retirement he worked for ten years as a programming consultant. Tom was a devout member of St. John Catholic Church in Old Saybrook and ministered there as a lector for many years. He was an active, involved father who enjoyed hiking, biking, camping, boating, gardening and scouting with his children as well as setting for them an example of intellectual curiosity and appreciation for the arts. In addition to Nancy, his beloved wife of 54 years, he leaves children David and Jeffrey Mathers, Marianne Grant, Alicia Bosse, and Juliet Swigor; grandchildren Marshall, Forrest, Deanna, Annabelle, Ethan, Noelle, and Rachael; and sister-in-law Constance Mathers. Thomas was predeceased by parents Albert L. and Elaine Mathers and brothers Albert K. and James Mathers.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. John Catholic Church in Old Saybrook on Monday, October 21 at 11:00am with interment immediately following at Resurrection Cemetery in Westbrook, CT. Services by Swan Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to Connecticut Food Bank.

Services

  • Mass of Christian Burial Monday, October 21, 2019

Memories

Thomas Gregory Mathers

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Jeffrey Mathers

October 22, 2019

I was a Cub Scout in 1977 and the Pinewood Derby was coming up. Dad and I always had a passion for woodworking and making things. So, I was handed the kit, as a nine-year-old, and told to "go make a car, but wait to put the wheels on because I have something special."

I retreated to the basement, pencil in hand, located the coping saw, and went to work. Later, I emerged with my car and showed Dad. He said "Needs more sanding -- he always said this -:) -- but it looks good. Are you going to paint it?", he asked. I sanded it and grabbed some used paint cans from the shelves and painted my car red and blue with a #1 on the side (of course!).

When I was done, Dad came down. We attached the wheels to make sure they were straight. It looked pretty good. Then Dad pulled out a tube of something. I asked "Is that oil to lubricate the wheels? " He said "No, that will gum up the axles. This is powered graphite! I researched this. It is our secret weapon!" I remember "secret weapon" uttered in the basement next to the workbench my grandpa built (OMG!); my dad so excited, and myself thinking "my Dad found a secret weapon!"

Long story short, my kinda ugly coping saw car won first place at the Pack 21 derby. We went to the Middlesex County championships. The competition was fierce. It was down to the last round of racing and we were still in the competition.

The other cars looked like F1 designs, so I had little hope with my coping saw car. The car was skittering in the tracks, it hit the flats at the bottom, and slowly Dad's secret weapon kicked in and.... we won! First place!

This story embodies so much of what my Dad and I shared. A love of making, our shared passion for doing/winning/playing, a love of new ideas/technology, and a shared belief that trying to win is better than not trying at all.

Love you dad - I will miss your advice, your questions back to me when I wanted advice, your stories, and most of all your friendship. I hope that I measure up.

David Mathers

October 21, 2019

To all the friends of Tom and Nancy and their family. We thank you for all your prayers and support during this challenging time. The outreach of good memories and love gives us strength as we feel the connections to so many that Tom taught, influenced and inspired over the years. We are so very blessed.

Vaughan Lawrence

October 18, 2019

I concur with the sentiments expressed on these pages because they are genuine. They reveal the true character of one who had endeared himself to so many.
One had to appreciate his intellect and extensive knowledge in many areas.
Tom was a mentor to many, not just to the new, but to any who entered his area of influence.
His ideas were creative and challenging, causing one to face one’s self and think. He understood the meaning of, and lived by the word “THINK”.
To hear him speak, you had to be close by. To hear him sing you realize his appreciation for music and the associated arts.
Tom respected and gained the respect of all those who walked with him along his path.
So I and others not able to share this moment can and do express our gratitude for the memories he created for us during his sojourn on earth.

I pray God’s comfort for his family.

Randy Swigor

October 18, 2019

My father in law, Tom, was a wonderful man who loved his family very much. He always made everyone feel welcomed and was always there for his entire family. He loved to see the grandchildren when we brought them down. He would just light up when we all arrived. The world was certainly a better place with him in it and he will surely be missed by all of us.

Alicia Bosse

October 17, 2019

It is impossible to describe every way that Dad was such an awesome father to my siblings and I and a wonderful grandpa in every way. He loved us all and showed it in so many ways - his heartfelt hugs, his eagerness to talk on the phone and his enthusiasm about visits with the grandkids. He was an excellent teacher and an expert in so many fields of knowledge. He knew so much about history, technology, literature and music - he was an inspiration to us all. I treasure so many memories with my dad, especially going for hikes, bike rides, playing soccer in the yard and swimming at the beach after he got home from work. I will truly miss him every day for the rest of my life. I love you dad.

Mike Westkamper

October 16, 2019

Tom was a near and dear friend. We met long ago when as an IBM’er he helped General Dynamics with their new mainframe. We stayed in touch though the years and worked together at my business in Old Saybrook. Tom was a consummate professional, dear friend and confidant.
As he faced his illness I saw another measure of Tom, courage. We spoke and visited frequently. His courage throughout the ordeal was an inspiration.
I will miss him.

Peter Clough

October 16, 2019

Tom sticks out vividly in my mind from the short time I was an SE Mgr in the New Haven IBM branch, actually located in Hamden. I read with interest what Cathy Sweeney said because it so closely matched my memories of Tom, bright, knowledgeable, and always willing to help whenever anyone asked. If anyone requested a one-liner to describe him, mine would be "one hell of a nice guy."
My condolences to his family and friends.

Doug Graybill

October 16, 2019

I roomed with Tom when we both started at IBM. We worked together on several occasions. I was proud and happy to participate in Tom's wedding and to be able to share in their joy as their family grew. I shall miss Tom's impish grin and gregarious character which always faced life with a sense of humor that relaxed all in his company. His choice of Nancy as his wife was recognized by all his friends as wonderful and the perfect match and compliment to Tom's personality. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and the family at this tragic loss. Let us all join together in celebrating Tom's contribution to all of our lives.

John Evans

October 16, 2019

I worked with Tom when I began my career at IBM in Hamden. He took me under his wing and taught me not only about technology; but much about living well with lessons I fondly remember to this day. My condolences and prayers to his family on the passing of such a kind and generous friend and father.

Cathy Sweeney

October 16, 2019

I worked with Tom at IBM in Hamden and I'm very sorry to hear of his passing. He was a wonderful person and very kind to me when I was new to the business. My thoughts are with his wife and family during this difficult time. Sorry for your loss.

FROM THE FAMILY