Richard M. Toms, 85, of Walkersville, died Monday, March 31, 2014.
Born Aug. 28, 1928, in Woodsboro, he was the son of the late E. Norman and Helena Young Toms. He was the husband of the late Catherine R. Toms, his wife of 59 years.
He attended school in New Midway and worked on the family farm. He was a 1946 graduate of Walkersville High School. He joined the Air Force in May 1948 and upon completion of basic training, he was stationed at Kessler Field in Mississippi, where he completed aircraft and engine school. Upon completing school he immediately departed for Germany as a participant in the Berlin Airlift. Returning to the United States, he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base for four years. That was followed by an assignment in Japan during the Korean War
, where he served as a test flight engineer on B-26s after major inspections and maintenance and later as a flight engineer flying to and from Korea completing weather and recon flights over the Yellow Sea.
In 1954, he was able to return to the U.S., where he met his then one-year-old daughter for the first time. He transitioned onto F-100 jets at George AFB in California before returning to Andrews AFB. While at Andrews, he served as honor guard for President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev during a visit in 1959. In 1963, he was deployed to Saudi Arabia for mission duty and later returned to California to an F-101 Squadron at Oxnard AFB, in an Air Defense Command. At Oxnard AFB, he received a promotion to master sergeant and was distinguished as non-commissioned officer of the year for the 28th Air Defense Command. This award was presented annually at the Air Force Association awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and in recognition for his service he traveled to the ceremony on a T-39.
In 1965, he and his family moved to England for a three-year tour of duty in a NATO Fighter Squadron. After being promoted to senior master sergeant, he spent time on alert in Turkey and Italy and was responsible for a crew of men and nine aircraft; three of which were on alert status, armed for immediate action, with at least one uploaded with nuclear weapons.
While living in England, he enjoyed collecting clocks and exploring Europe with family. Returning from England, he was stationed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey, where he was assigned to C-141 aircraft, and later retired after 22 years of service. He was awarded a Commendation Medal, Berlin Airlift-Germany Occupation Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force NCO Academy Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal with Bronze loop and more.
After retiring from the Air Force, the first day of December 1969, he accepted the position of plant manager for the Central Chemical Company in Hagerstown. He was promoted to branch manager for the Chemicals and Fertilizer division, which included plants in Pennsylvania, New York, New England and Ohio. While there he enjoyed returning to Germany, visiting the Mercedes plant and purchasing company cars as a Central Chemical representative. In 1983, he accepted a position with Crop Production Services in Keymar and retired in 1986 to become the transportation officer for the Way Station in Frederick, a nonprofit dedicated to providing behavioral health care. In 1993, he fully retired to his home, garden and small farm in Woodsboro.
He was a member of Air Force Sergeants Association, Retired Enlisted Association, Glen Eyler Post 282 of American Legion of Woodsboro, The Frederick County Genealogy Society and Korean War Vets Association (Chapter 142 of Frederick). Since January 1970, he had been a member of South End Baptist Church, where he served as Sunday school teacher, deacon and building committee member and chairman. He also served as manager of the church's softball team for 10 years, taking the team to the Baptist National Softball Tournament six of those years.
Surviving are brothers Charles Toms and wife Libby, of Frederick, George Toms and wife Doris, of Walkersville, Roland Toms and wife Evelyn, of New Oxford, Pa.; sisters Nancy Horner and husband Fred, of New Windsor, and Phyllis Naundorf and husband Ernie, of Walkersville; and a sister-in-law, Marion Toms, of Sacramento, Calif., son Richard Toms Jr. and wife Pam, of Woodsboro; daughter Deborah and husband Wayne Peterson, of Walkersville; grandchildren Jeremy Peterson and wife Jennifer, of Walkersville, Timothy Peterson and wife Danielle, of Great Falls, Va., Chelsey Sleeter and husband Dan, of San Antonio, Texas, and Ashlen Cotterman and husband Chad, of Spokane, Wash.; great-grandchildren Abigail, Madison, Audrey, Owen, Cole, Koltan, Sadie, Faith, Brynn, Landon and Silas; step-grandchildren Shelley, Brooke and Katie; and numerous step great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by brothers Norman Jr. and John Toms; and a sister, Judy Carl.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Stauffer's Funeral Home, 1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at South End Baptist Church, 506 Carrollton Drive, Frederick. Interment will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to South End Baptist Church, 506 Carrollton Drive, Frederick, MD 21701; or the Korean War Vets Association, Chapter 142 of Frederick at www.kwva.org
Online condolences may be offered at www.staufferfuneralhome.com
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