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Thomas Merrill Gregg

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Thomas Merrill Gregg, a longtime resident of Topeka, died Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005, at the age of 80. The son of Samuel Bowman and Blanche Young Gregg, he was born April 20, 1924, in Evanston, Ill. He completed his primary and secondary education in Evanston, before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1943. In 1948, Mr. Gregg graduated from The University of Kansas with a degree in political science. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He also attended The Washburn University School of Law. A job as a radio announcer at WREN (Mr. Gregg's program was “The Night Watchman”) brought him to Topeka, a city he embraced as his hometown. Mr. Gregg was active in community work, giving considerable time and energy to such organizations as the Kiwanis Club, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Topeka, the Capper Foundation, First Congregational Church, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, and Brewster Place Retirement Community. He also served as vice chair of the Chamber of Commerce. A man of tremendous warmth and perpetual good humor, he had friends in all walks of life and served as a kind of “troop leader” for the two central Topeka neighborhoods where he raised his family. Long after his own five children left home, neighborhood kids would knock on the Greggs' door and ask if he could come to join their games. And their parents were always welcome on the back porch for a chat and refreshments. The “pray and play” trips he organized later in life brought Topekans of all religious beliefs together for travel to such places as Hawaii, Victoria, Canada, and San Antonio. Mr. Gregg signed a contract with American United Life Insurance in 1949 and worked as an agent and agency manager until his retirement two years ago. He was active in local, state and national insurance organizations, holding offices in each level. He chaired both the state and national law and legislation committees for the National Ass ociation of Life Underwriters and served as national trustee of NALU for four years. He was a life member of the Million Dollar Roundtable, an organization that honors the industry's highest-producing agents. His gregarious personality and impeccable integrity earned him hundreds of clients who also came to value him as a friend. He brought in Bill Rogenmoser, the son of his next-door neighbor, 17 years ago and trained him to take over the business. Mr. Gregg is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ann Wehe Gregg; daughters, Gail, of New York City, and Judith Gregg Peters, Long Beach, Calif.; sons, Tyler, San Diego, and Gordon and Andrew, both of Seattle; six grandsons; a granddaughter; and a sister, Janet Gregg Dillon, Colorado City, Colo. A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at First Congregational Church. It was Mr. Gregg's wish that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the following organizations: the Capper Foundation, First Congregational Church Youth Pr oject, the Boys and Girls Club of Topeka or YMCA's Camp Hammond.
Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Feb. 17, 2005
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