Tom was an integral part of the McClure Engineering team for over 27 years helping shape the firm that you know today. For the first two decades of McClure, our electrical work on projects was performed by outside firms. This all changed with the hiring of Tom in June 1971. Employed by Wil Rath since 1963, Tom had already worked on a number of projects with Chuck McClure and Bill Coad. Tom joining McClure was the beginning of our Electrical Department which now has 16 Engineers and 10 Designers. Tom worked for McClure from 1971-78, 1987-89, and 1990-2008.
In addition to being a great engineer, Tom was an active educator and mentor. He taught the Grounding Class for the Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois before handing it off to McClure Electrical Engineer Keith Cooper who he had hired himself back in 1992. Keith remembers the rather unorthodox interview with Tom:
I met Tom when he and I worked together at Champion Electric from 1989-1990. Tom left Champion and returned to McClure for the third time where he stayed until he retired in 2008. I was driving down Big Bend Blvd. one day in early 1992 and on an impulse turned into McClure’s parking lot to say hello to Tom. Tom jokingly said they were looking for an electrical engineer. We caught up on life and then a busy Tom “politely” started to urge me toward the door. As I walked out the door, I told Tom to let me know if he was serious about needing an engineer. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back into the office and I was essentially hired that day. Tom was my mentor for the next 16 years. – Keith Cooper
You could ask Tom a question and if you persevered, you would learn about a half dozen different topics. You wouldn’t get an answer, but you would mine the raw materials to build an answer. Tom helped build the McClure Way. Some of his more entertaining and memorable contributions to the McClure lexicon include:
- “Show me the bodies” – referring to a non-problem problem
- Harvey Schnoffalots – character in his stories
- Fat Fingered Harry – character in his stories
- “Picking the fly poop out of the pepper”
- Fatherhood and the Waterfall – a great philosophy on child rearing: if your child was about to be washed over Niagara Falls and you yelled stop, they would!
- “Bring me two beers because you won’t be back in time after I finish the first one.”
- The 600 Volt Mentality
- “We’ve been to the moon and back.” – we can solve any problem
- “That’s not a Column, that’s a hole in the floor.” – drafting commentary
- “That’s not a K, that’s football kicker.” – lettering commentary
- Johnny Doughboy (the vendor) – character in his stories
- Johnny Milktoast – character in his stories
Tom’s wife of 59 years, Carol, passed away earlier this year. He is survived by his 5 children, 16 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren.