CUMBERLAND Thomas Frederick Conlon, 93, died on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.
Tom was born on Oct. 10, 1924, to Thomas and Elizabeth (Knieriem) Conlon in Cumberland. He was the oldest of three children. He graduated from LaSalle High School in 1942.
Following high school, Tom enlisted in the United States Army serving from 1943-1946. Tom returned to Cumberland following his military service, and began working in the family business selling travel services and life insurance.
In 1953, Tom married Gertrude Dooley in Cumberland. They had five children.
Throughout his life, Tom was dedicated to service. He joined the Army Reserve, and was a member of the 16th Special Forces Group WV National Guard Green Berets, retiring at the rank of Captain. He followed in the footsteps of his father, embarking on a political career (Thomas F. Conlon Sr. was Mayor of Cumberland, from 1942-1944). In 1962, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. He then served two terms as Cumberland Mayor (1966-1970 and 1970-1974). Tom was a member of the Optimist Club, supporting many community service projects. He was also a long time member of the C&O Canal Association, and served as a Level Walker monitoring historic structures along specific sections of the canal.
Tom was an active member of many other organizations during the course of his life, including the National Railroad Historical Association, National Preservation Society, Cumberland Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Travel Agents, Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, Knights of Columbus, and the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS). Tom was a devout Roman Catholic and was a long-time member of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church (now Our Lady of the Mountains parish).
Tom was always fascinated with travel and transportation from his model railroad room in the basement of his childhood home, to his first ocean voyage across the Pacific during World War II, to many adventures by road, rail, and ship in the USA and abroad. Tom was an explorer and always chose the back roads when he could. In public service and business enterprises Tom did not hesitate to be outspoken, sometimes daring, and even controversial. He made a point of staying informed, interested and engaged in the changing world around him, even as age and poor health began to hinder his involvements.
Tom and Gertrude had an enormous fondness and compassion for all animals. The Conlon home was never without several cats, most of whom were taken-in as strays. In later years they also welcomed dogs into the family. This love of animals was passed down to both children and grandchildren.
Tom is survived by his sister, Sister Mary Brendan Conlon (Louisville, Ky.); five children, Mary Conlon (Cumberland), Thomas Conlon and wife, Pam (Virginia Beach, Va.), Joseph Conlon and wife, Carol (Stuart, Fla.), Beth Conlon Staley and husband, Peter (Silver Spring), and Joan Conlon Leatherman and husband, Bryan (Cumberland); four grandchildren, Matthew Conlon and wife, Kimberly, Morgan (Conlon) Gilbert and husband, Ryan, Mia Conlon and Michael Conlon; nieces, nephews and many friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Gertrude; his brother, James L. Conlon; and his grandson, Joshua Conlon.
Tom donated his body to medical research with the hopes of forwarding studies toward treatment and a cure for Essential Tremor.
Donations in Tom's memory may be made to The Cumberland Valley Optimist Club (AC Memorial Scholarship), c/o J. Lazarus, 1064 North Spruce St., Lavale, MD 21502; or The C&O Canal Association, PO Box 366, Glen Echo, MD 20812 (or online at www.candocanal.org)
A funeral Mass celebrating Tom's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, at the Shrine of Saints Peter and Paul in Cumberland. Friends will be received in the church, preceding the Mass, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Published on December 22, 2017