A Life Remembered:
How do you say in words, someone’s whole life in just one paragraph?
To be honest, the family wants to be witty and clever and, on the other hand, we want to be serious and respectful. How do you choose? Well, Tom was all of that. He was serious about his family, career and flying, and respectful of the Lord. He was goofy with his wife, daughters and friends, and witty or clever when the situation called for it.
Tom was born 78 years ago in Neptune, N.J., to George Ernest Wyckoff and Esther Harsin Wyckoff. He graduated from Manasquan High School, but not before he met the love of his life, Nancy Mae Stoer — it is well known in the family that they met in detention. The two continued dating as Tom enlisted in the Navy and Nancy went to nursing school. They married on March 25, 1961, and started the adventure of their lives.
Tom had an illustrious career in the Navy, first as enlisted, then after Officer Candidate School, became commissioned as an officer. He was an awesome Bombardier Navigator (BN), served in Vietnam with hundreds of successful missions; had several different duty station tours, including Japan in 1975 and 1980; served with VA-52 on the Kitty Hawk, with VA-115 on the Midway and with VA-128; completed over 2,000 hours in the A-6 Intruder; and retired as a lieutentant commander in 1987.
Not quite ready to retire, he began working on the base as a flight simulator instructor, eager to continue working with the A-6 Intruder for 12 more years.
After his second retirement, he was able to pursue yet another long-time dream – getting his private pilot’s license and spending many hours flying several airplanes owned by the Cascade Flying Club. He and Nancy enjoyed many $100 hamburgers at various places.
He was an adoring husband and a tolerant father of four daughters who all gave his life more meaning and more adventure than he ever thought he’d see. These great adventures included traveling/camping across the country between duty stations. Imagine traveling with a wife and four daughters, not to mention numerous cats, turtles, a hamster and — what happened to the parakeet?
As the daughters moved on with their lives, he and his wife continued the traveling and camping tradition, enjoying Washington state parks and more adventures on those trips to Alaska, Ireland, Scotland and Australia. Most recently, the rivers of Europe gave him great joy.
In between trips, Tom enjoyed cooking, watching the Seahawks, NASCAR, reading, playing his “flat friends,” keeping up with current events, learning new words and playing cards with the ladies.
Tom’s earth-dwelling people are his crazy and loving wife of 56 years, Nancy, and his wacky and loveable daughters, Debbie, Laura, Susie and Mo. Besides his mammoth cats, Watson and Sherlock, he has eight “grands” and two “greats.” His Maine-lander sister, Lois Gray, lives in New Jersey.
Family who passed on before Tom were his parents Ernie and Esther Wyckoff and in-laws Bill and Violet Stoer (aka Granny Vi).
Tom used to tell Nancy, “Stick with me, baby, I’ll show you the world.” And he did.