Thomas O'Laughlin Sr.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Thomas K. O'Loughlin Sr. of Jackson died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2006. His life was framed by his love and affection for Aggie, his wife of 65 years, his children, grandchildren and aviation.

Tom was born Aug. 21, 1915, at University City, the fourth of six children and only son of Michael and Mary Walsh O'Loughlin. He was reared in a close-knit, Irish Catholic family in Kirkwood, Mo. He graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Grade and Kirkwood High School, where he, like his dad before him, played end on the football team. Tom worked for a year for the highway department. With the money he saved, help from an aunt and money he earned from sweeping Academic Hall, he was the first member of his family to graduate from college. While there he met Agnes Schmuke, whom he affectionately called "Aggie." They were married at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jackson on Nov 9, 1940.

Tom was an educator, served his country, a businessman and farmer. He taught and coached football at Valle High in Ste. Genevieve in 1940 and 1941. His football team was 1-7 the first year and 7-1 the next.

In 1941, Tom enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He had a keen interest in aviation. His piloting skills were quickly recognized and at the age of 27, he was piloting and instructing cadets to fly B-17s and B-29s, the Flying Fortress. Tom and his flight crew received orders to travel to California to pick up their B-29 for the invasion of Japan when the two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the war. Shortly after he was discharged and returned to Jackson. He owned and operated Southeast Dairy, which processed and sold dairy products, for 37 years.

Tom taught math and science at Jackson, Cape Girardeau and Oak Ridge Public Schools. He furthered his education at Washington University, Bradley University and the School of Mines at Rolla. When he reached mandatory retirement age in the public system, he taught science at St. Mary's in Cape Girardeau and to several students being homeschooled by their parents. Tom and his family moved from Jackson to their farm north of Fruitland in 1954 where he farmed and raised Hereford cattle.

He helped organize and was the original commanding officer of Company E, Jackson's first National Guard unit. Every year under his command, Company E won the Eisenhower trophy, which is given to the best company at the annual encampments. He retired from this part of his life after 20 years of serving his country in the Air Corps and National Guard.

Tom had been a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church since 1946, formerly serving on both the school board and Parish Council. Also active in the community, Tom was a member of the Jackson Rotary Club more than 50 years and had served as president. He served on the Jackson R-2 School Board, was a member and past commander of Altenthal-Joerns American Legion Post 158 in Jackson, and was a member of the Painton Experimental Aircraft Association.

Tom and Aggie raised seven children: Tom, Mike, Tim, Pat, Martha, Mary and Dan. Tom leaves Aggie, all seven children, four daughters-in-law who loved him like a father; Teresa, Tom's wife; Donna, Mike's wife; Mary, Tim's wife; and Judy, Dan's wife; eight grandchildren, all eight of whom greatly felt his presence and who will always remember him dearly; a sister, Emily Quinn; nieces, nephews; and Aggie's sisters, Mary and Joann. Six of his grandchildren will carry him to his final resting place: Erica Koetting, Erin Brown, Matthew O'Loughlin, Katie O'Loughlin, J.T. O'Loughlin and Michael O'Loughlin.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, at McCombs Funeral Home in Jackson with parish prayers at 6:30 p.m. and American Legion service at 7 p.m.

A Requiem Mass at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10. Burial will be in Russell Heights Cemetery with full military honors.

Friends and family are invited to the church after interment for a gathering in his honor. Tom is gone.