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1936 - 2014  

Thomas Charles DeRocco, born on June 28, 1936 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, departed this world on March 13, 2014 in Bethesda, Maryland, as a result of complications following a severe spinal cord injury. Though Tom left his family and friends too soon, he lived a full and passionate life, serving his country first as a Radio Operator in the United States Air Force (1954-1958) stationed in Germany, then for 31 years as a Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of the Interior. In the span of his public affairs career, Tom managed media and public information programs focused on public lands management, onshore and offshore oil and gas production, and wild horse adoptions. His civil service concluded in 1997, culminating in 14 years as the Chief of Public Affairs for the Minerals Management Service. In addition to veteran and civil servant, Tom was proud to call himself a Penn State Pioneer, having graduated from Penn State University in 1962 with a B.S. in Recreation Administration. He was also a long-time volunteer for the Washington Ear, giving his time every week for 15 years to read for the blind. Tom is survived by his wife of 34 years, Emily; his children Tracy, Drew, Christopher, and Lauren; six grandchildren; and, his mother, BettyLu. The family is holding private services, and is asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Washington Ear ( or the USO (

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 26, 2014
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