Thomas E. Philbeck

CLEARWATER, FLA.-Thomas Edwyn Philbeck of Clearwater, Fla., left the planet on March 19, 2013, at the age of 85.
Thomas (or Tom, as most of his friends called him) lived a long and colorful life. He was born in Shelby on Nov. 7, 1927, to Buena Green and Thomas Duke Philbeck. With his sister Shirley, he spent his early life in Cleveland County, graduated from Lattimore High School, and attended Gardner-Webb College before starting his first career in the dairy industry. During that time, he married Joanne Elaine Gantt, who graced him with four kids. They moved to Charlotte and divorced. In the early 1960s, Thomas graduated from the Nashville Auto-Diesel College and became an outstanding bus mechanic. He worked for many years for Charlotte City Coach, and Southern Tours and Grayline Tours in St. Petersburg, Fla. Also in the early 1960s, he met and married Margaret Humphries, and they had one daughter. Over the years, Thomas, Margaret, and Tracy lived in a variety of places including Pineville, Huntersville, Charlotte, St. Petersburg, and ultimately Clearwater. He last worked at On Top of the World Community Recreation Center in Clearwater.
Thomas wore his heart on his sleeve. He was sometimes temperamental, usually sweet as molasses with a killer smile, but you always knew where you stood with him. He was a master joke-teller (especially the x-rated genre). His mantra: "Friggit!" He was born, lived, and died a Southerner. He loved NASCAR racing, Fords, country ham, Lexington-style barbecue (sliced, not minced), Coca-Cola, Civil War and World War II history, professional wrestling, and gospel music. If we ever had a nagging car problem, we could count on Thomas to give us an opinion about the cause, and he was usually right. For various reasons, many of his family seldom saw him, but we will miss knowing he was there to take our calls, which he always seemed to enjoy.
Thomas was preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, "Papa Bill" Weathers; his wife Margaret; and his daughter-in-law, Margaret Dominguez Philbeck.
He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Dr. Willard Hamrick of Chapel Hill; nephew, Dr. Allen O'Barr; son, Dr. Thomas E. Philbeck Jr. of Hondo, Texas, and grandchildren, Thomas E. Philbeck III, Carla Jo Philbeck, Thomas Max Dominguez Philbeck, and Josephine Elaine Philbeck; daughter, Elizabeth Marie Ziegler of Charlotte and grandson, John W. Ziegler III; son, David Alan Philbeck and his wife Anita of Mt. Holly and grandchildren, Matthew Philbeck, Nathan Philbeck, and Sharyn Richardson; son, Dennis Dale Philbeck and wife Deena of Bessemer City and grandchildren, Amparo Garcia, Dacia Underwood, Dennis Philbeck and Rhett Philbeck; daughter, Tracy Evan Philbeck of Clearwater and granddaughter, Terri Haupt; and ten great-grandchildren.
Thomas' family wishes to thank the staff of Harbourwood Health & Rehabilitation Center in Clearwater for the outstanding care given during Thomas' last year. All things must pass…
Graveside Service: 11 a.m. Saturday at Serenity Gardens, Largo, Fla.

Published in Shelby Star on Apr. 4, 2013