He came to us from East St. Louis (Ill.) Senior High School, where he was active in dramatics and orchestra. At Princeton he majored in civil engineering, served as secretary and president of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, was a member of the Aquinas Foundation, and rowed varsity crew all four years.
Tom was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines upon graduation. In 1955, during the first of his four years of service, he suffered a head injury during a military operation that rendered him totally deaf. After discharge he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering at Princeton and a Ph.D. in engineering at U.C. Berkeley, and taught at Pennsylvania State University for 27 years. He traveled to 40 countries on five continents, depending on lip-reading to understand others’ speech.
Raised on a farm in Illinois, in his 1964 essay for the class’s 10th-reunion yearbook, he wrote, “Fourteen years ago I worked with a slow-plodding mule. Today I work with 600-mph jets. Tomorrow I will work with problems created by 2,000-mph supersonic transports. It’s a very long way from the farm.”
Tom married Irene McConnell in 1955, and they had three children. He is survived by the children, Ellise, Thomas, and Edmund; and a granddaughter, Hannah ’17.