Tom Monroe

Tom Monroe
Tom Monroe

Tommy Lee Monroe, 87, died Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

Tom was born November 10, 1932, in Quanah, Texas, to Robert and Clarene McCullough Monroe.  He graduated from Quanah High School in 1950.  He attended West Texas State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1956, and a Master of Education in 1964.

While an undergraduate student at WT, Tom met the love of his life, Carol Duncan, of Canyon, TX.  They were married on August 21, 1953, and they celebrated 66 anniversaries together.  Carol preceded Tom in death on December 18, 2019.

Two months after he and Carol were married, Tom was inducted into the United States Army, where he served proudly and honorably for two years.  The couple was stationed in Seattle, WA, when their first child, Mike, was born.  After Tom’s discharge from active military service in 1955, the family returned to Canyon, where Tom finished his undergraduate degree.

Tom was a teacher by profession, and he loved young people with a passion.  He began his teaching career in 1956 at Canadian High School, teaching speech, English, and drama.  It was during this time that their second child, Janet, was born.

After three years of teaching, Tom decided to try his hand in the business world.  The family moved to Amarillo, where Tom accepted a position in the training division of Phillips Petroleum.  Although he was successful in this venture, as well as in brief stints in insurance and farm equipment sales, his heart kept calling him back to the classroom.  In 1962, he accepted a position teaching speech and drama at Travis Jr. High School (now Travis Middle School), and remained there for the rest of his career.  Over the years Tom had several offers to move up to high school and administrative positions, but he preferred to remain at the junior high level, helping his students to navigate the turbulent waters of early adolescence.

Tom always had a soft spot in his heart for the insecure, the underprivileged and the “underdog.”  During his years at Travis Jr. High, his speech and drama classes helped hundreds of shy and insecure young people to discover talents they never knew they had, and to express themselves with poise and confidence.   He delighted in helping to secure suits and dresses for students from lower income families so they could attend school dances and other special events with dignity and pride.

Tom was a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ, and his love for young people also found expression in his involvement with his church.  For several years during the late 60’s and early 70’s he served part-time as education director and youth minister at the North Amarillo Church of Christ.  Later on, he taught youth and young adult classes at the Central Church of Christ.

Tom was also a consummate family man.    Besides being a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he delighted in his relationships with his extended family.  Having married into a family of nine children, he liked to joke that he was a “professional brother-in-law.”  Between his own and Carol’s family, Tom had 32 nieces and nephews, and they all dearly loved Uncle Tom.

Over the course of his life, Tom officiated at more than 40 weddings of family members, former students, and members of church Bible classes and youth groups.  And his life, love, and exemplary character left an indelible impression for good on the hearts of countless others.

In addition to his wife, Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Clarene Monroe; one sister, Dee Thurston; one nephew, Howard Taylor; and one great-nephew, Weston Mannin.

Tom is survived by his son, Mike Monroe and wife, Janet, of Arlington, TX; his daughter, Janet Mitts of Dallas; one sister, Mona Taylor, and husband, Robert, of Georgetown; grandchildren, Bryan Monroe and wife, Amber, of Arlington, TX, Brooke Nobles and husband, Charles, of Abilene, TX, and Brandon Monroe and wife, Emily, of College Station; six great-grandchildren, Ryder Monroe, Asher Monroe, Magdalene Monroe, Landry Nobles, Paisley Nobles, and Austin Nobles; and a host of nephews and nieces, along with their spouses and children.

Memorial services will be at 1:00 P.M., Saturday, February 1, at Central Church of Christ in Amarillo with Glen Walton and Allan Stanglin officiating.

Memorials may be sent to Christian Relief Fund, P.O. Box 79670, Amarillo, TX 79114-1670; or

High Plains Children’s Home, 11461 S. Western St., Amarillo, TX 79118.

23 Replies to “Tom Monroe”

  1. I really enjoyed being in Mr. Monroe’s drama classes at Travis. He was always interested in his students and showed us how to live life to the fullest. I am sorry for his loss, but know he had an impact on my life as I still enjoy life productions and good theater.

  2. Mr.Monroe was a great teacher. I was blessed to know him from church and school. I remember his teaching us to sing at Christmas it was so much fun. A great teacher. Prayers 🙏 to the family from myself and sisters.

  3. My absolute favorite teacher ever….he was so giving and kind. The kindest heart ever.
    He was always, always good to both my younger brother and I. My deepest condolences to his family. Prayers for comfort and peace. God Bless, RIP Mr. Monroe.

  4. Mr. Monroe was everyone’s favorite teacher and had the most amazing gift to make everyone in the class feel as if they were the teacher’s pet. Years later, every classmate I would meet, from the most shy, to the most outgoing, would say, “I know everyone thought that they were Mr. Monroe’s pet, but I really was!” He helped many an eighth and ninth grader get over the fear of standing in front of a group and giving a speech. Or debating which was more valuable, the hole of a donut or the smell of Limburger cheese? Or making up a story about Augie the Ant. I fondly remember his class 40 years later and his gentle nature and good humor. Mr. Monroe had a transformative impact on the lives of all of the kids who had the good fortune to take his class. His family should know that their loss is shared by so many. We too will think of him often, each of us knowing, in our own way, that we were truly his favorite.

  5. What an amazing man. He taught me that life’s circumstances were not what made you, you. At the time I started at a Travis, I was at one of my lowest points. I’d been sent there because I’d almost been killed at another school, all of my friends were at that other school.. I started out with no one… then some kids found out my clothes were donated from a thrift store and were being mean spirited kids, he pulled me aside and talked with me. He found out we were between homes. I was sleeping in a closet at my aunt’s house and that’s when he taught me that I could rise above all of that. That my circumstances didn’t make me lesser, but it would make me work harder if I wanted to have better circumstances. He was so right, it also taught me to be kind to everyone no matter what, because I didn’t know their circumstances either. Thank you Mr Monroe for loving this stray and not letting me give up on myself.

  6. Mr Monroe was a excellent mentor for me. I had been in a car accident. He encouraged me saying..It’s okay do the best you can. I would write a speech and my memory would quickly fail. He had a copy. I would be totally off script. At the end he would say. A being able to “fake it till I made it” was a skill he taught that I carried through life.
    I was his original Ali c a….
    I lived him dearly. Later my son had him. I was thrilled.
    Go with God Mr. Monroe

  7. I’d like to give YOU a round of applause: standing up, clapping my hands in a big circle! I remember you doing that for me. You were the best! Rest in peace with the angels. ❤️

  8. Mr. Monroe you were an amazing teacher. I really enjoyed your class despite how incredibly shy I was. You gave me the strength and the courage to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for all your love and support you gave all us kids. Now you will be able to see Phillip Posada in heaven. I know you two will never stop laughing RIP

  9. Tom Monroe,fine Christian man who walked the true meaning of life.Love makes the world go round.Brenda&Joe Melvyn

  10. Mr. Monroe, was a great teacher . I had him at Travis along with many other students he impacted. He helped me build my self confidence and helped me believe In myself. RIP MR. MONROE ❤️🙏🏻

  11. Mr. Monroe was the absolute best teacher. He gave me the confidence I needed to partake in a play. Prayers for his family. 😢

  12. Mr Monroe was so kind to a shy, insecure kid like me. He was one of two or three teachers that I remember from Travis. He and Mr. Miller were my favorites…and if you are fortunate to be blessed with teachers that have that kind of impact even when you are in your 60’s…that was a job well done. He knows now just how BIG that impact was on so very many young lives. It was my honor to know him. My prayers are with his family as I am sure his loss is tremendous in their lives.

  13. You were a Angel sent to this earth to help young adults. I would pray for the time I could go to your class. You were so caring and sincere in helping people. The kind words and encouragement meant everything to me. Rest In Peace 🙏🏼
    Carol Flowers Cowan

  14. What an incredible man! He was an amazing teacher to myself and my mother when we went to Travis.

    My condolences to his family.

  15. Mr Monroe RIP. HAD THIS AWESOME TEACHER IN Drama at Travis. Mr Monroe and I spent many a night building Sets for our Drama performances. He was a very special Man and I always admired his wit and friendship. I was Otto in the play Sleepy Hollow when I was at Travis. He was a great and influential part of my life and others. He always had a smile and willing to help or listen. What ever you needed from him he was willing to give. Always wondered about him and where he was. I should have kept in touch with him.

  16. Mr Monroe was my favorite teacher at Travis Jr High back in the 70’s. He was such a caring & remarkable person who made learning so much fun! My deepest sympathy & prayers go out to his family & all who loved him. He truly touched so many lives & will never be forgotten.
    Krista Keeler Breshears

  17. He was more than a great teacher, he was my mentor. He showed me how to be a more effective speaker. He would knock off points if I said fixen to in a speech,
    He impacted my life over the 2 years I had speech class at Travis.
    Thanks for your life…
    Jim Steeden

  18. I remember Mr Monroe from my years at Travis in the 1970’s. He was always so cheerful as we walked from class to class. My prayers go out to his family.

  19. So many wonderful memories that I cherished in my youth…was in Mr. Monroe’s class. I was shy in Jr. High and had him for speech and drama.

    I was in his class when prayer was removed from schools and we had a walk out. We prayed at the pole and went to class, some of the students walked down to the high school, leaving campus. Those of us that stayed went back to class. I had Mr. Monroe, he said get out a pen and paper, number from 1-10 and write down what I tell you… we did as he asked. Then he said, write your name on top and turn it in. Y’all did the right thing by voicing your opinion and returning back to class and this is your Semester test. The ones that did not return will have a full length test. (glad I went back to class)

    He also worked with me, to teach me to speak better… gave me some marbles to put in my mouth and then gave me things to say… like “She sells seashells by the seashore”, until he could understand my words.

    I loved debate and it taught me that there is always two sides to a story.

    But my favorite thing, and my favorite memory was:
    Students would make him a paddle every year…some with holes, some with tape….and he would use it all year and if needed, you would get swats from him but you could sign his board. At the end of this particular year I had him, he said “Jackie you haven’t signed my paddle.” my thought was “and???.. so I said..give me a pen!” Mr. Monroe… “you have to take swats to sign it.” Me: “nope, I’m good” Mr. Monroe “But I want you to sign it” me: “Give me a pen” Mr. Monroe “you have to have swats!” this went on for a while, mind you this was during drama class! Then the class turned on me, wanting me to get a swat so I could sign the board. Mr. Monroe “I will give you just one swat.” To my ignorance…. I gave in… let me tell you! Mr. Monroe… gave me that swat in front of the whole class… I think it lifted me off the floor!!! Then he just smiled and said… “here is a pen, you can now sign my board!”

    Thank you for so many wonder memories, I am sure you will always be a positive influence from the past, present and future of all the lives you touched. You will be cherished always.

  20. Mr Monroe had such a great positive impact on all of the students who took his class back in 1984. He was determined to know his students and make us feel accepted regardless of our background 😊. May God 🙏 continue to bring strength to his family members and loved ones he left behind. Thank you Mr Monroe for your services!
    Susie ( Villarreal) Stong / Amarillo TX

  21. Tom Monroe touched so many young lives. I was his student in 1965 & he changed my life forever. My family was very low income & I was ashamed of everything about me. He he helped me find value in myself.
    I am blessed to have had him in my life.

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