Thomas Lee Solomon, of Universal, Ind., formerly of Terre Haute, passed away at 4:02 a.m. Monday, December 2, 2013 surrounded by family.
He was born to the late Mike Solomon and Frances Rozina-Solomon.
He graduated from Clinton High School in 1959 and Indiana University
in 1964 with a degree in education and later went on to receive a master's degree from Indiana State University. Solomon worked as a middle school teacher
, driver's education instructor and coach for more than 40 years. He taught at the middle school and high school levels. He started his teaching career at North Vermillion Schools and went on to teach and coach at Greencastle, Union City, Western Boone and finished his career retiring from South Vermillion Middle School in 2001.
He had a love for sports and was a 3-sport standout athlete at Clinton High School, playing football, baseball and basketball. He went to Indiana University on a full ride football scholarship. Throughout his 40-year teaching career and nearly every year he coached football, baseball or wrestling. The highlights of his coaching career include an undefeated football season at Union City and coaching individual state wrestling qualifiers. He had a passion for Chicago Cubs baseball and I.U. sports.
When his kids (Melissa and J.T.) were trying to talk him into moving closer to them in order for them to help take care of him, his biggest concern was he would not be able to get the TV channels WGN (to watch Cubs games) and the Big Ten Network (to watch I.U. football and basketball games).
He had a love for Elvis Presley and his music. His love was so great that he named his female cats Priscilla and Lisa Marie.
He was very proud of his Serbian background and heritage. He taught his kids and grandkids several words in Serbian that are used today. The favorite is "IDEE EST EEE" which means "come to eat" in Serbian.
The grandkids affectionately call him De De. De De would come to visit his kids and grandkids (Drew, Paige, Sidnee, Rebecca, Brooke) quite often and bring with him a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a bag of apples. He attended many of his grandkids sporting events and would somehow make his way into the dugout or sidelines giving advice to the kids and trying to coach them to victory. He was a very committed father and very proud of his children. He was a very humble man with a deep love for his late parents and family.
He was previously married to Sandra K. Martin. He was a member of Victory Baptist Church in Clinton.
Survivors include a son, J.T. Solomon and (wife Nikki); a daughter, Melissa Mattson(husband Warren): a brother, Bob Solomon (wife Marilyn); a sister, Mary Mandich; grandchildren, Drew and Paige Solomon, Sidnee Randle Solomon and Brooke and Rebecca Mattson; a brother-in-law Avery Gose; a sister-in-law, Josie Solomon; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Olivia Solomon; a sister, Jennie Gose; brothers, Mike Solomon Jr., and John Solomon; and a brother-in-law, Mike Mandich.
Funeral services are 11 a.m. Saturday at Giovanini Funeral Home, Clinton, with Pastor Larry Snyder officiating.
Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Online condolences may be expressed at www.giovaninifuneralhome.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to Victory Baptist Church, with envelopes provided at the funeral home.