Thomas Dresser Jr.

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Dresser, Thomas J. Jr.

8-27-1923 to 12-30-2016

"The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person" - Andy Rooney.

Tommy was a consummate gentleman who always removed his hat when entering a building, insisted that ladies go first, and was quick to help or share a laugh. He will be remembered for his kindhearted sense of humor and his way of teasing with a twinkle in his eyes and grin. He relished life and could fully engage in conversation with strangers - no one was a stranger to him. Tommy was a keen admirer of music, Mexican food and dirty Martini's.

Born in Roswell, New Mexico on August 27, 1923 to Thomas J. Dresser, Sr. and Currie Bingham-Dresser, Tommy was the youngest of six siblings. At the age of six months, Tommy's mother passed. With Thomas Sr. working two jobs, Tommy's sisters particularly Dodie, were charged with his care and nicked named him "Teeny Boy". Tommy enjoyed athletics, playing football and basketball for the Roswell High Coyotes. He competed in swimming. He graduated from Roswell High, serving as President of the 1942 class. Upon graduation, Tommy joined the United States Navy during World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1945.

Tommy was President of New Mexico Funeral Directors Association, served three years on State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalming Association. At a convention in Denver, he received an oil painting in recognition as Outstanding Funeral Director. His profession began as a licensed apprentice in 1946 while employed by Ballard Funeral Home in Roswell. Hence, his nickname "Digger Dresser". He graduated from the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science in 1948 and began work with West Funeral Home in Carlsbad a year later. He became manager in 1953 and purchased West Funeral Home on a handshake in 1969 agreeing to buy it with the profits each month until paid. He retired in 1991 but often requested, Tommy continued part time work for West Funeral Home helping with embalming, arrangements, and conducting funeral services until his wife, Margie, became ill. Tommy remained a licensed embalmer to his death.

Tommy was a member of Carlsbad Rotary for 27 years achieving the Senior Active Life Membership. He was a proud member of Riverside Country Club in Carlsbad and loved playing golf with his buddies. He had six hole-in-ones! Tommy played over 25 years with East New Mexico Golf Association and three years with National Senior Golf Association. He received Riverside's Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and 2001. Between 1967 and 1970, he raced micro midgets in Carlsbad, Amarillo and Denver. He enjoyed fishing and boating. He was a devoted football fan of Oklahoma and Oklahome State.

Tommy is preceded in death by wives, Doris Walberg, Betty Gollam and Margie Williams-O'Malley, his brother and sisters, Juanita (Rawdon), Dixie (Flood), Doris (Dodie Smith - Bixby), and Faye (Cabber). Tommy is survived by five daughters, Kathi Franks (Gene), Doris Burton (Gary), Janet Hoover (Kerry), Judy Vinson (Mike), Patti Saylor (David); grandchildren; great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Tommy will be missed by his professional colleagues and his golfing buddies from Riverside Country Club in Carlsbad - who touched his life in so many ways. He is already missed by his Albuquerque family especially niece, Patti "B" and Stan Stanalonis, and his many new found friends at Bear Canyon Estates including Jim, Kathleen (whom he first met in 5th grade), Carol, Wanda, Earl, Millie, Bill, and Erica to name a few. He often expressed admiration for the wonderful staff at Bear Canyon Estates and appreciation for caregivers from OnPointe, as well as Rosa (his caregiver while in Clovis).

Bear Canyon Estates will honor Tommy on Thursday, January 12, 2016 at 2:30pm. Cremation has occurred. Services in Carlsbad will be announced by West Funeral Home.

Funeral Home
West Funeral Home - Carlsbad
401 N. Guadalupe
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Funeral Home Details
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Jan. 8, 2017
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