Thomas Richardson Combs

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Thomas Richardson Combs, 89

Dr. Thomas Richardson Combs, 89, of West Lafayette, IN, passed away on January 10, 2014, peacefully in his sleep, at home with loved ones. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, children, Susan (Victor) Zipser of Phoenix, AZ, Janet (Michael) Ivas of Lafayette, IN, Karen Combs of Los Angeles, CA, James (Jamie) Combs of Los Angeles, CA, and April (Michael) Combs Mann of Cincinnati, OH, grandchildren; Mark Powers of Shanghai China, Ariel and Tristan Ivas of Lafayette, IN, Lyla and Mia Mann of Cincinnati, OH, and Sander Combs of Los Angeles, CA, great grandchildren; Victor Powers and Emerson Ferry, siblings; Edna Duello, Leona Perry, Vella Street, Mae Combs, Gerald, James, Ralph and Loyal W. (Bill) Combs.

Tom was born March 16, 1924, in Pine Village, IN, to Loyal W. Combs Sr. and Vella Ulrey Combs. He married Bonnie Spry on November 26, 1949, in Lowell, IN. Dr. Combs served in the Navy as a Pharmacist's Mate in Hawaii from 1943-1946. A graduate of Lowell High School, Lowell IN, Tom enrolled in Ball State University, receiving a Bachelor's degree in business and education. He earned a Master's degree and later a PhD. in education administration and political science both from Purdue University.

Dr. Combs was first a principal in Jasper County Schools and later became principal at Morton Elementary and then West Lafayette Jr. High School in West Lafayette, IN. He went on to work as Personnel Director for Vigo School Corporation, in Terre Haute, IN. In 1978 he was appointed Superintendent of Schools for Northwest Allen School Corporation. He retired as Superintendent of Schools for Smith-Green School Corporation in 1988. He also worked as an architectural consultant in Fort Wayne, IN from 1991-1993.

Tom was a member of Covenant Church, West Lafayette, IN. Other memberships included: Indiana Retired Superintendents Association, American Legion Posts 101 and 11, Phi Delta Kappa, Theta Xi fraternity, Masonic Lodge, Purdue Alumni Association, John Purdue Club, Pine Valley Country Club, and West Lafayette Elks.

Tom was an extraordinarily kind, compassionate, and generous person. He was a believer in following one's dreams. There was never a man more devoted to his family. Tom and Bonnie put all five of their children through college and together were unfailingly supportive parents. Tom loved all children and derived great pleasure in his last years from talking to his grandchildren and looking at pictures of them on his iPad.

His curiosity about the world and love of travel began with his WWII naval assignment in Hawaii. Tom often described the first time he walked on the beach in Hawaii and experienced the fragrance of tropical flowers. There were many family vacations around the country full of singing, joy, and laughs.

A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at a later date, to be announced. Inurnment in Lowell Memorial Cemetery, Lowell, IN. Memorial Contributions to . Share memories and condolences online at Sheets Funeral Home, Lowell, Indiana.

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Sheets Funeral Home
604 E Commercial Avenue
Lowell, IN 46356
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Published in the Journal & Courier from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2014
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