Thomas Lee Galloway passed away February 21, 2020 after a long struggle with ALS. He fought this battle as he lived his life, with the courage and grace that inspired all who knew him.
Tom was born and raised in the small town of Grand Blanc, Michigan in 1939. He was the fourth child to Flora Lee Spears and John Marvin Galloway. He graduated from Grand Blanc High School where he was an honor student, outstanding athlete, and student body president his senior year. He excelled at basketball, baseball and played on the school’s undefeated championship football team. In 1963, Tom married Suzette Louise Carpenter, who he had known since the 3rd grade, and who, in fact, was his campaign manager when he was elected to Student Body President.
Tom graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He was proud to work at NASA for 35 years, ending his career in 2000 as Chief of the Systems Analysis Branch at Ames Research Center. He was a member of the Advanced Turboprop NASA team that, in 1987, received the prestigious Collier Trophy, which is awarded annually for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in the country. Tom was a frequent guest lecturer at Georgia Tech University, Penn State University, University of Michigan and Cal Poly State University. His passion for flight found him soaring the clouds in a single prop plane that he shared with his friend, Lou Williams. His family loved when he would fly them along the California coastline, ending in Solvang or Napa for the day.
Throughout his life Tom had many hobbies. In addition to flying, he enjoyed being in basketball and softball leagues, skiing lakes or mountain slopes, hiking and camping with friends, bowling in various leagues, playing golf, and rooting on all University of Michigan sports teams.
Tom was a proud parent to his daughters, Francene and Wendy. He was always ready to pitch in with the girls’ activities including being a prop builder for dance routines, chief of an Indian Princess Tribe, patient math and science tutor, and college sorority Dad’s Club President. He was also ready to drive anywhere and everywhere to help his daughters move, whether it was down the street or across the country.
His grandchildren, Michael and Nicole, were the apple of his eye. Grandpa and Mike shared a love of airplanes and flying and spent many hours together on that topic. Grandpa loved to share stories with friends about the funniest things Nicole used to say. He enjoyed spoiling them during their month-long stay in California every summer.
Tom became known as “Mr. G.” to thousands of young people through the Alice Faye Dancers, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and Youth Focus organization. His quiet, reassuring manner calmed many nerves while being a stage manager, prop master, sound technician, and master of ceremonies. He was a member of the first Youth Focus Board, founded 50 years ago, and served as Vice President for most of those years. He was proud to be part of an organization that raised over a million dollars for scholarships. No task was too big or too small for Tom. He was known to paint stages, type scripts, edit hours of music, create certificates, carry costumes, sweep out buildings, setup scholarship reports, carry endless boxes of materials, audit event results, prepare trophies for award presentations, serve as a parade marshal, and drive the Galloway van packed full of young people needing a ride.
In their later years, Tom and Suzette’s love of family history had them traveling the USA and abroad gathering information, photos, and family stories. Tom left a treasure trove of homemade family history books as forever gifts to his extended family.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Suzette; his devoted daughters Francene Rongione (Joe) of Middletown, NJ and Wendy Renwick of Pebble Beach, CA; his beloved grandchildren, Michael and Nicole Rongione; his sister, Mary McDaniel and his brother-in-law, George Carpenter. He is predeceased by his parents; his brother, Jack Galloway; his sister, Lucille McMinn; his sister-in-law, Carol Carpenter and his son-in-law, Jim Renwick.
He will be greatly missed by his family, neighbors, and many friends. Tom was a doer, friend, listener, counselor, devoted husband, proud father and grandfather, and a gentle, guiding influence who was well respected by all. Tom never sought the spotlight when credit was given and was indeed an unsung hero to many. We are richer for having had him in our lives.
Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life on Saturday, April 4th at 2:30pm at the First Congregational Church of San Jose at 1980 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124.
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