Thomas Arthur (Tom) Gay, 88, of Amarillo, TX died December 6, 2020.
Memorial services will be at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, December 12, 2020, at First Baptist Church with Dr. Howard K. Batson officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Thomas Arthur (Tom) Gay was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on October 30, 1932, the son of Charles and Bertie Gay. When he was 2 years old, the family moved to Cuero, TX where his dad owned a John Deere dealership. Tom graduated from Cuero High School in 1949. He attended Baylor University for 2 years. In 1951, he joined the US Navy during the Korean conflict and spent four years aboard an LST.
When Tom got out of the Navy, he worked construction for Brown & Root. While working in Rosenberg, TX, he met Jeanette Strain. She was the prettiest, sweetest girl he had ever met. A year later, they were married and began their life together in Victoria, TX where Tom worked for Dupont for 3 years. In 1957, their son Chuck was born, and in 1960 their daughter Jan was born. Chuck is a pediatric neurologist in Houston, and Jan is a former elementary teacher in Amarillo. After living in Cuero for 3 years and working for his dad in the John Deere and Studebaker businesses, Tom and family moved to Rosenberg, TX where he worked for Universal C.I.T. credit corporation for 6 years. He became branch manager in Freeport, TX and, eventually, through a dear friend and bank president, Bill Allison, Tom went to work for First National Bank of Lake Jackson, TX where he later became president. Tom and Jeanette also owned and operated Gay’s Hardware in Brazoria, TX for 5 years. The family lived in Lake Jackson for 21 years. Tom and family were very active in the First Baptist Church of Lake Jackson where he and Jeanette taught Sunday School for many years. On January 14, 1968, Tom became a deacon of the church where he served until 1984 when he accepted a job as president and CEO of First State Bank of East Baton Rouge Parish in Baker, LA. While in Lake Jackson, Tom was very active in many community organizations including Kiwanis and the United Way. He also served as chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.
Tom and Jeanette spent 11 years in Baker, LA at the bank and were active members of First Baptist Church and the community. Tom said his job in Baker at First State Bank was the best and most enjoyable job he ever had.
After those 11 years in Baker, Tom and Jeanette retired and moved to Cuero where they were active in First Baptist Church and DeWitt County Wildflower Association. Five years later, they moved to Amarillo, TX to be near their daughter Jan, grandson Ty, and granddaughter Erin.
Tom was a beloved and cherished husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. He was a faithful servant, kind and generous to all, well respected, and treasured by all who knew him. He had a knack for making those around him feel special. Those of us who love him will miss him tremendously. He leaves a hole in our hearts that will never be filled, yet we rejoice in the knowledge that he is now at peace in the loving arms of his Savior who is our hope and our salvation.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by Jeanette, his wife of 64 years; brother Bill Gay of Cathedral City, CA; son Chuck Gay and wife Rhonda of Houston; granddaughter Allison McElroy and husband Chase of Los Angeles, CA; granddaughter Kathryn Andrus and husband Caleb of Houston; daughter Jan Wood of Amarillo; grandson Ty Wood and wife Taylor of Albuquerque; granddaughter Erin Wood of Amarillo; two great-grandchildren, Wyatt and Elle; and many nieces and nephews.