FOLLIARD, THOMAS WILLIAM, December 26, 1925 - June 6, 2013, age 87 passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on June 6, 2013. He was fondly known by friends and family as "Big Tom", born to George and Getrude Folliard. Tom survived his only sibling, George Folliard Jr . He graduated from Miami Edison High School in June 1943. Tom's affinity for newspapers began at this early age as he would rise at 4am daily to deliver newspapers by bicycle before school. Upon graduation, his parents' permission was required so he could follow his passion and enlist in the Navy in July 1943. "Tiny Tim", his naval nickname, was an Aviation Mechanics Mate 2nd class in the Navy and earned a Naval Air Medal and Gold Star for his assistance on a patrol plane in action against enemy forces in April and May of 1945. Tom was Honorably Discharged from the Navy inApril 1946. He met his beautiful, vivacious love of his life, Doris Lee Forsythe in Jacksonville, Florida while stationed there and fell instantly in love with her. Tom attended University of Miami from 1946-1949 and was Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He married Doris at Shenandoah Presbyterian Church in Miami June 1953. Tom sold shower enclosures; managed a "stevedore" company, and managed and sold import commodities in Miami and later, Galveston, Texas. After a brief stint selling insurance in 1965 Tom began working for the Miami Herald selling Classified Advertising. This became his permanent life work, and another love of his life. Tom held several Classified Advertising management positions during his tenure at the Herald. Tom became Assistant Manager of Classified for the Detroit Free Press in 1973. As the Folliard family are true "warm weather" folks, Tom returned to work for the Herald in 1974 as Assistant Classified Manager until he retired in 1988. Tom was a true salesman, always optimistic, enthusiastic, and a results oriented motivator for all those he worked for, and with. He participated in leadership and community service programs while working for the Herald. "Big Tom" was the Herald's Santa Claus for over 20 years and was loved by children and grown ups alike. He carried a message and spirit of hope to Herald employees and their children; but also would carry gifts, Christmas cheer and Christmas carols to senior citizens homes, hospitals and children's homes. Those "make believe" magical moments Tom treasured most as Santa and truly enjoyed the happiness, belly laughter, and magic he left behind everywhere he went. Those who worked with him will never forget the fabulous entertainment by Tom at yearly Orange Bowl edition sales gatherings. Tom possessed an outstanding personality and was well-liked by everyone he came into contact with, both personal and professional. Tom's hobbies included golf, greyhound and horse racing, vacationing on cruise ships, and frequenting casinos to play slots and attend shows. Tom developed a best friendship late in life with his black poodle, named "Timmy" after him, who was his daily companion adding zest to his life, and to whom he referred as "my son". Tom and Timmy looked after each other daily, up to and including his time of passing. Three of Tom's last and best memories include attending the wedding of his only grand-daughter, Jennifer Rindone Coss; a first time visit to the new Miami Heat arena for the first round of the current playoffs where he sat in box seats; and a final visit to the Herald building for an alumni reunion prior to the recent move to the Doral location. Tom Folliard carried that same positive attitude and zest for life right through his final moments. He passed away full of a lifetime of happiness, radiating uplifting words and energy to all whose path he crossed. Tom Folliard died firm in his religious faith, and was ready when God called him on June 6, 2013 at Baptist Hospital in Miami. Tom Folliard was happily married to Doris, the light of his life until her passing in 1993. He was a loving father, family man and best friend surrvived by his son Kevin Folliard; daughters Cindy Rindone (Joseph B Ryan III), Sharon Folliard and Tracy Folliard; grandchild Jennifer Coss (Kelsey Coss); dear nephews Scott, Charles and Bradley Forsythe and their families; and sister in law Jane Forsythe. Tom Folliard also loved and was loved by his furry dog friends Mia, Mr. Pooh and baby Tigger who will all miss him dearly for his weekly Sunday visits. Tom had many close and dear friends who maintained regular contact with him and brought such love and light to his life; some of them who as younger persons grew up in and around his home. "Big Tom" will be remembered at a Celebration of Life and the family has asked that donations be made to SEGA (greyhound dog rescue) or the Humane Society of Greater Miami. It was Tom's wishes that smiles and good thoughts of his happy and perfect life be the focus upon his passing, not tears. He is now with his Lord, and for sure Doris is with him holding a glass of wine in one handand a dog book in the other.
Published in Miami Herald on June 12, 2013