Thomas Engelman

Thomas “Tom” Lawrence Arthur Engelman, II (Tom would argue that he was the III), 75, of Romney, died peacefully at Hospice of The Panhandle Inpatient Care Facility in Kearneysville, W.Va. on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

Tom is predeceased by his parents, Thomas Lawrence Arthur Engelman and Anne Estelle Kinosh Engelman. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Jean Parker; his daughter, Amelia Grace Engelman; his beloved mother-in-law, Betty Jean Parker all of Romney; an uncle, Peter Kinosh; and an aunt, Patricia Newcity both of Bristol, Conn. and last, but certainly not least, his beloved feline companion, Kit.

Tom was born in Miami, Fla., on Oct. 9, 1945, and graduated from Coral Gables High School. Tom’s dad was a Racing Secretary, a position that orchestrated horse races all over the Eastern Seaboard.  Consequently, Tom attended many different schools and made many friends in many places. Following high school, Tom attended and graduated with the class of 1967 from V.M.I. (Virginia Military Institute) with a degree in biology. It was readily apparent that the military was not for Tom. In his VMI senior yearbook, it was recognized by his peers that Tom was marching to a different drummer. It is written; “With a clash of thunder the skies parted and out popped the cloud” and “Tom is one of the easiest-going members of our class.” Evidently VMI required that all students be involved in some type of extracurricular activity. Tom picked cheerleading…hard to imagine. After VMI, Tom chose VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) as a place to invest his talents and energies. He spent about 2 years with VISTA and that brought him to West Virginia and working on the Herriott Farm. In these years he met and married Jean Parker and they had a little girl, Amelia Grace. For extra money, Tom started subbing in the public school system. Later, making a career out of teaching science at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, from which he retired after 30 years of service. Tom loved kids and a wild assortment of critters from a Tarantula to a Parrot to Mammy the white rat (all residents of the Deaf and Blind School). For many years a little blue VW beetle could be seen on the streets of Romney and surrounds; it’s driver never waved, however you could count on a peace sign and that was Tom.

To write Tom was “different” would be an understatement of significant proportions. There was nobody quite like him. He was quiet, soft spoken, interesting, intelligent and had an off-beat sense of humor. If you knew his lifestyle, you knew that “he read the recipe for healthy living, but never got around to actually baking the cake.” He was going to get around to healthier living, it just never quite happened. Tom liked to read and he enjoyed entertaining and being entertained with idle chatter. When he came into the funeral home years ago to make his arrangements he made it very clear he wanted things to be simple. At that time he stated; “I want to slip away like the fog.”  Somewhere along the way Tom changed his plans from being cremated to donating his body to West Virginia University. When telling his wife his plans she responded with: “your dad always wanted you to go to medical school.”  And on it went. 

Tom was also very clear about his funeral services. There weren’t to be any. “People can raise their glass and make a toast if they wish.” Here’s to you Tom. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of The Panhandle, 278 N. High St., Romney, WV 26757 or The Hampshire County Library, 153 W. Main St., Romney, WV or the animal shelter of your choice.

Arrangements are being handled by Shaffer Funeral Home, Romney.

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