Richard M. Toms, 85, of Walkersville, joined his wife in God's care on the night of March 31, 2014. Born August 28, 1928 in Woodsboro, Maryland to the late E. Norman and Helena Young Toms, Richard attended school in New Midway, worked on the family farm and graduated from Walkersville High School in 1946. He joined the United States 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 States, Mr. Toms was stationed at Andrews AFB for 4 years 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 States, 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 had the honor of serving as honor guard for President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev during a visit in 1959. In 1963, Richard 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, Richard received a promotion to MSgt and was distinguished as NCO of the year for the 28th Air Defense Command. This award was presented annually at the Air Force Association awards ceremony in Washington, DC and in recognition for his service he traveled to the ceremony on a T-39. In 1965, he and his family (wife, son and daughter) moved to England for a 3-year tour of duty in a NATO Fighter Squadron. After being promoted to Senior MSgt, 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 in England, he enjoyed collecting clocks and exploring Europe with his family. After 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. His awards included: 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; and Good Conduct Medal with Bronze loop.|
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, MD being 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, MD and retired in 1986 to become the transportation officer for the Way Station in Frederick, a non-profit dedicated to providing behavioral health care. In 1993, Richard fully retired to his home, garden, and small farm in Woodsboro, MD.
Mr. Toms 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, MD). Since January 1970, Richard has been a member of South End Baptist Church where he has served as Sunday school teacher, Deacon, and Building Committee Member and Chairman. He also served as the church's softball team manager for ten years taking the team to the Baptist National Softball Tournament six of those years.
Richard Toms was loved by all and will be remembered as a dedicated brother, Airman, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, coach, friend, and husband. He is survived by: a son Richard Jr. and his wife Pam of Woodsboro; a daughter Deborah and her husband Wayne Peterson of Walkersville; four grandchildren, Jeremy Peterson and wife Jennifer of Walkersville, Timothy Peterson and wife Danielle of Great Falls, Virginia, Chelsey Sleeter and husband Dan of San Antonio, TX, and Ashlen Cotterman and husband Chad of Spokane, WA; eleven great-grandchildren, Abigail, Madison, Audrey, Owen, Cole, Koltan, Sadie, Faith, Brynn, Landon, and Silas; three step grandchildren, Shelley, Brooke and Katie; and numerous step great-grandchildren. He is also survived by three brothers, Charles and wife Libby of Frederick, George and wife Doris of Walkersville, Roland and wife Evelyn of New Oxford, PA; two sisters, Nancy Horner and husband Fred of New Windsor, MD, and Phyllis Naundorf and husband Ernie of Walkersville; and a sister- in-law Marion Toms of Sacramento, CA. He was predeceased by two brothers Norman Jr. and John Toms, one sister Judy Carl, and his loving wife of 59 years Catherine R. Toms.
Visitation will be held at Stauffer's Funeral Home in Frederick on Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm. A memorial ceremony will be held at South End Baptist Church in Frederick on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11am followed by an on-site reception. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery and scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made in Richard Toms' memory to South End Baptist Church or the Korean War Vets Association, Chapter 142 of Frederick, MD.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.staufferfuneralhome.com
Published Online in The Frederick News-Post on Apr. 2, 2014
Published in Print in The Frederick News-Post on Apr. 2, 2014