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Bobby Thomson

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Bobby Thomson Obituary

BOBBY THOMSON Robert (Bobby) Brown Thomson passed away peacefully Monday evening, August 16th on Skidaway Island in Savannah, GA. He was 86. Contrary to the initial press reports, Bobby had not been ill the past few years but had been struggling with health issues over the past few months. Bobby was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 25, 1923, the youngest of 6 children. His family emigrated from Scotland to the U. S. when he was 2 and came through Ellis Island before settling on Staten Island in New York. He grew up playing sandlot baseball but was very disappointed not to make the cut on the freshman baseball team at Curtis High in Staten Island. However, he persevered and his baseball career ultimately led to the Major Leagues. He played in an era when baseball was truly the national pastime. Rivalries between teams were serious business and taking a family to the ballpark was not cost-prohibitive. While Bobby was best-known for hitting what has been called "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" on October 3, 1951, he was proud of a baseball career that spanned 17 years. After retiring from baseball in 1960, Bobby and his family lived in Watchung, New Jersey. He began his life after baseball working for Westvaco in New York City as a sales representative. His integrity, work ethic, and warm demeanor were just a few of the qualities that endeared him to his clients. After Westvaco sold the division in which Bobby worked to Stone Container, many of Bobby's former clients requested his continued services. Stone Container later merged with Smurfit and Bobby eventually retired from Smurfit-Stone. Bobby's strong value system and humble upbringing dictated how he lived his life. To "do what is right" was a common phrase that he often used with his children. He was always a gentleman and treated everyone with respect and dignity and always had a positive outlook on life. Despite losing his wife, Elaine, to a very aggressive form of cancer in 1993 and then the very sudden death of his 38-year old son, Bobby Thomson, Jr. in 2001; he still maintained an unwavering cheerfulness and appreciation for life. He was loyal to baseball and his fans and personally answered all his fan mail, which at times seemed overwhelming to his family. He was always willing to help out whenever asked - whether it be speaking, signing autographs for charity, throwing out baseballs, attending events, or reading books to 1st Graders. Bobby was very proud of his work with the New Jersey Arthritis Foundation and hosted an annual golf tournament at the Plainfield Country Club to raise funds. For more than two decades Bobby Thomson was also a devoted friend and spokesman for Tomorrows Children's Fund (TCF) at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center. He was a frequent visitor to the young patients who were fighting cancer but also assisted the foundation in so many of its fundraising activities. In addition, he also served as a Watchung City Council member and was part of the Optimist Club of Watchung. One of his most cherished memories occurred on October 3, 2001, which was the 50th anniversary of his home run. The celebration at the Giants stadium in San Francisco was postponed out of respect for our nation's tragedy. Instead, he and Ralph Branca visited the firehouses around ground zero in New York City to offer some cheer and support to those who had lost so many heroes. This visit was something that profoundly affected him for the rest of his life. In 2006, Bobby left his home of 46 years to come to Savannah, GA, where he could be closer to his daughter and son-in-law. While moving into a new area after so much time in Watchung was a little concerning, Bobby's personality soon earned him a whole new group of friends - both at The Marshes and The Landings on Skidaway Island. He was also proud to join a great group of guys known as The 1-2-3 Club, who meet every week in a Southside- Savannah restaurant. Bobby Thomson was a humble living legend, a father, an uncle, a Big Bob, and a Pop-Pop to his loving family. He set an example for all to do what is right and he will be dearly missed by all who loved him. Bobby was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine and his son, Bobby and is survived by his 2 daughters: Nancy Thomson Mitchell of Savannah, GA and Megan Thomson Armstrong of Milford, NJ; and former daughter-in-law, Judy Ellis Thomson plus 6 grandchildren: Megan Mitchell of Torquay, Victoria, Australia; Coley Mitchell of Charlotte, NC; Lexi, Taylor, and William Armstrong of Milford, NJ; and Reagan Thomson of Bedminster, NJ. Bobby is also survived by his sister, Ruby Beattie of Aurora, OH and numerous nephews and nieces. There will be two memorial services. The first will be in Savannah, Georgia at the Skidaway Island Methodist Church at 11:00 am on Saturday, August 28. The second memorial service will be in Watchung, New Jersey at the Wilson Memorial Church on Tuesday, August 31st at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to one of Bobby's most-cherished charities: The Tomorrows Children's Fund 30 Prospect Avenue Hackensack, NJ 07601 Fox and Weeks Funeral Directors Savannah, Georgia paid obituary

Published in the TC Palm on Aug. 21, 2010
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