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Professor Thomas James Pressly

Professor Thomas James PRESSLY Professor Thomas James Pressly, age 93, died in his sleep on April 3, 2012 at his residence at Merrill Gardens, Seattle, Washington. He was born in Troy, Tennessee on January 18, 1919, the son of James Wallace Pressly and Martha Belle (Bittick) Pressly. After graduating from Harvard University (AB 1940, MA 1941). he was drafted in the US Army in June 1941. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in April 1942 after graduating from the Ordinance Officer Candidate School. He served with the Sixth Air Corp in the Panama Canal from July 1942 to March 1943 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He graduated as a Navigator at Selman Field in October 1943 and was stationed at Davis-Monthan Field, Second Air Corp, teaching navigation inB-24s from October 1943 to December 1944. He was specially assigned to navigate a B-24 on a delivery flight from California to Australia, November 1944. He flew combat missions in B-24's from Foggia and Cerignola, Italy with the Fifteenth Air Corp, 459th Bomb Group, 759th Squadron, from February through May 1945. He was discharged as Captain in November 1945. After receiving a PhD from Harvard University in 1949, Tom embarked on what would become a distinguished academic career. He taught American History at Princeton (1946 - 1949) and the University of Washington (1949 - until retirement in 1988). He was a Ford Foundation Fellow (1951 - 1952) and a fellow of the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (1955 - 1956). He taught as a visiting professor at Princeton (1953 -1954), Stanford (1963), New York University, Stony Brook (1967), University of London (1968), and the Johns Hopkins University (1969 - 1970). He was widely admired as a teacher, and the University of Washington Alumni Association in 1974 recognized him as an "Outstanding Teacher." While stationed at Selman Field, Jackson, Mississippi, he metand married the Commanding Officer's secretary, Lillian Cameron on April 30, 1943, who predeceased him on December 4, 2005. He was predeceased by his older sisters, Elizabeth Stevens Pressly Nichols and Belle Bonner Pressly Dahlgren. He is survived by his son, Thomas J. Pressly, II, his wife, Katrina Carris, of Rutland, Vermont, his stepson Kenneth Truhan and his wife Heather of Denver, Colorado and his stepdaughter, Lindsay Smith of San Francisco, California, and by his daughter, Stephanie Pressly Suzuki, her husband, Kaoruhiko Suzuki, of Pasadena, California their two children, Misasha S. Graham and her husband T.J. Graham of San Carlos, California and Kentaro Suzuki, M.D., of San Diego, California. Tom Pressly was well respected and admired by his students, fellow faculty and departmental staff. He was a life long tennis player and was active right up to his last illness. He was a true gentleman, respectful of all sincerely held opinions and beliefs, and had an easy going sense of humor and a gracious way in all social situations. He loved his family generously and without judgment or reserve. Tom will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends.
Published in The Seattle Times from Apr. 8 to Apr. 11, 2012
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