Thomas G. Mooney
October 12, 1948 – December 1, 2018
Thomas George Mooney was born on October 12, 1948 to Walter ‘Bill’ and Wylodean Mooney. He grew up in Mounds, Oklahoma as an only child who enjoyed the freedom and simplicity of small-town life. He kept his parents on their toes with his antics from an early age. As a toddler he followed his beloved puppy down the railroad tracks which resulted in a full-scale search by neighbors and local authorities. His tales of childhood were varied and full of adventures. Tom began assisting his father Bill, a sign painter, as a teenager. They developed a special friendship during the hours spent together working and remained extremely close throughout life.
After graduating from Mounds High School in 1966. Tom traveled across Europe with other Methodist youth from the state. This was a high point for him as he always loved to travel. Following this he attended Oklahoma City University. Transitioning from a graduating class of 24 students to a university setting was an eye-opening experience. He thrived on the pranks and fun of dorm life but still received a solid education graduating with a bachelor’s degree in History. Tom went on to receive a Master’s degree in History from Tulsa University.
He was thrilled to land a job in Tahlequah at the Cherokee National Historical Society (CNHS). His mother’s family had lived in the Tahlequah area since before statehood which of course appealed to his love of history. Tom began work in 1976 under the direction of Col. Martin Hagerstrand who was a great inspiration. Just as CNHS was known as Tsa-La-Gi and The Cherokee Heritage Center over the years, Tom also learned to go by many titles over his years; from curator to printing press operator to extra in the Trail of Tears Drama to interim director, to author and editor, to archivist. Serving in various capacities enabled him to help the museum in unique ways. In 1987 he authored “Exploring Your Cherokee Ancestry’ which is still in print today. He received numerous awards over the years including the Stalward Award and Samuel Worcester Award. After dedicating almost four decades to preserving Cherokee history and culture he retired in 2014.
Tom was truly one of a kind. He contained a wealth of knowledge and impacted many in the community and beyond. He enjoyed genealogy, playing games, good-spirited political debates, Broadway musicals, old movies, Quora and spoiling his grandchildren. Overflowing with wit, he loved to joke and play pranks; all who knew him quickly learned of his quirky humor.
A Christian from childhood, Tom lived his faith daily. He was a member at D.D. Etchieson Indian United Methodist Church until earlier this year when he joined Crossway Baptist Church, to worship with his family. Thankful for all God’s blessings, Tom served in various capacities everywhere he attended. Being active in the community was important to Tom. Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, Tom became a member of the Masonic Lodge. He served in various positions as a Mason and had 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite. In addition to supporting the Thompson House and Tahlequah Community Playhouse, Tom gave back to the community as a blood donor as often as possible.
None of these factoids and tidbits can sum up the incredible soul he was. His kindness, strength, generosity, dedication and wisdom will be greatly missed. God blessed him with a full and colorful life. He leaves behind a legacy that can’t be matched, with stories and memories that will live on in all who knew him.
Tom is preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Wylodean Mooney and his son, Timothy Mooney. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, the love of his life and best friend, Robin. He is also survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Audrey and Derek Dietz and beloved grandchildren Aliza and Korbin. He also leaves behind a multitude of cousins, extended family and a host of friends. In lieu of flowers please consider making a memorial donation to the Tahlequah Community Playhouse where Tom enjoyed many years as a theatergoer and supporter.
- Memorial Service Friday, December 7, 2018
Thomas G. Mooney
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December 7, 2018
Keeping your family in our prayers. Always enjoyed my conversations with Tom.
Jeannie and Wes Benge
December 6, 2018
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Please know that your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I remember I was setting with Dad in the burn center at Hillcrest and Tom came by to see him. Tom always had a kind word and was very thoughtful. I'm sure that kindness never stopped. He will be missed.