Thomas Alvin Pitchford Sr. of Victoria, Texas, passed away at home after a short illness Sunday morning, Sept. 30, 2012.
Born at home Aug. 21, 1925, in the Fox Community of Parker County to Alvin Pitchford and Lota Bell Waters Pitchford, he moved with his family in the early years to California where he started school in LaHarbra. The family moved back to Texas a couple years later and Tom attended Brock school, graduating in 1943 in a class of nine students. One of his joys in later years was having his oldest grandson move to the Brock community and his great-grandsons become Brock Eagles. He was drafted out of high school for World War II into the U.S. Coast Guard which was a part of the U.S. Navy during war times. After finishing basic training in St. Augustine, Fla., he was aboard ship in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean on guard for German submarines. During his time in the Coast Guard, he also performed horseback shore patrols along the Virginia-North Carolina border. After finishing his service duty, Tom graduated in 1948 from Weatherford Junior College and attended Texas Tech. He married Ann Elizabeth Stewart on Jan. 22, 1950, at her parents’ home in Weatherford, Texas. They left for College Station, where he attended Texas A&M graduating in 1952 with a degree in Ag Education. In 1952, he went to work for Swift & Company and excelled in a career of sales and management. Tom was hired at Swift by Ralph Cole, who remained his lifelong friend and mentor. His sales career took him to South Texas, California and back to Texas. In 1970, the family moved from the Rio Grande Valley to the Gulf Coast of Texas and called the area home, living in either Victoria or nearby Lolita. After his career with Swift, Tom had the opportunity to work as ranch manager for the Bauer Ranch, fulfilling a lifetime dream. Tom was a faithful Christian man and lifetime member of the Church of Christ and a daily Bible reader. His greatest friendships and bonds through the years were always with people with whom he attended church each week. For many years, Tom and Ann attended the Downtown Church of Christ in Victoria and in Point Comfort where he was an elder at both congregations. Most recently he was a member of the Midtown Church of Christ in Victoria. He had a love and incredible knowledge of plants and gardening. Whether beautiful roses or a sack of home grown okra, he loved to share things he grew. Horses were a passion with him from the times he was a small child on a farm with “Old Bill” and in later years he enjoyed horseback riding and showing with his children. A tall man, Tom was an impressive sight in his boots and hat, always ducking to enter a doorway. He loved to read and enjoyed anything about history or from his favorite western storyteller author.
Tom and Ann were happily married for 62 years until her passing in January of this year. He was also preceded in death by his parents, brother Bob and infant brother Jimmy, infant grandson Justin Ray Pitchford and son-in-law Jim Johnson.
Tom is survived by his nine children, Helen Sue Johnson of Victoria, Tom Pitchford Jr. (Gayla) of Inez, Linda Kay Pitchford of Fort Worth, David Pitchford (Christy) of El Paso, Norma Pitchford (Jesse Cano) of Victoria, Eddy Ray Pitchford (Kathy) of Coahoma, Joyce Townsend (Kenny) of San Antonio, Jimmy Pitchford (Alisa) of Ennis and Bobby (Kristy) of Jacksonville, N.C.; he loved his grandchildren and leaves behind 10 grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; nine great-step-grandchildren and one step-great-great-grandchild; his brothers, Arnold Pitchford of Millsap, Texas, Benny Pitchford (Willa Mae) of Weatherford, Texas; and sister, Helen Nomalene Smith of Sherman, Texas.
Family and friend visitation is scheduled for Wednesday night at Oak Lawn Funeral Home, 900 Navidad, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Graveside burial services are scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in Red Bluff Cemetery in Lolita, Texas.
Chosen charities include Midtown Church of Christ in Victoria or Crown Hospice in Victoria.
Oak Lawn Funeral Home
900 Navidad, Edna, TX 77957.