Stephany, Thomas R. DELMAR Thomas R. Stephany, 63 of Delmar, died peacefully at Albany Medical Center December 1, 2020, after a courageous battle with COVID-19 complicated by Parkinson's disease. Born in Albany, Tom lived all his life in Delmar. He retired from the Bethlehem Central School district after 33 years of service. He was well-liked by co workers, students and faculty alike. Tom was known for his self-effacing manner, gentle kindness, generosity, humor (remember that Seinfeld episode where), impersonations, love of music, love of animals and nature, riding trains, and most of all, his passion for anything having to do with airplanes. Though he lost most of his sight in his left eye as a boy from an accident, he acquired his private pilot's license in his early twenties and loved flying. He also became a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Friends and family members would occasionally accompany him on his flights to experience the thrill of being closer to the sky. After one of his flights by himself, he wrote a powerful expose' of coming close to flying into a thunderstorm. He was extremely knowledgeable of weather patterns and all types of aircraft. He could tell you without looking, what plane was flying above by the sound it made. In addition, Tom was a superb model airplane builder and won many awards over the years with his meticulous and accurate detailing. Within a couple of years of Tom's Parkinson's diagnosis, his days of piloting planes were soon over. Nevertheless, he attended countless airline conventions all over the country, always enjoying what he could, while he could, and never complaining as the disease progressed. The joy he took in flying was replaced by a quiet resolve to fight Parkinson's in whatever way he could. He volunteered for various research studies all over the region. Through support groups he forged deep friendships that nurtured a profound appreciation for the good Parkinson's brought into his life. Tom became active with Hope Soars, a non-profit organization based in Albany for the Parkinson's community, providing awareness, education, and research. In addition to spinning, cycling and yoga, Tom and many others began boxing (non-contact) at Schott's Gym. Tom loved it. Not only did it help with coordination and movement, but it gave him an opportunity to have it out with Parkinson's on the punching bag. As a parishioner of the First United Methodist Church of Delmar, Tom enjoyed volunteering at church events and participated as an occasional usher. Tom's gentle spirit, unrelenting positive nature, and sense of humor inspired so many. He will be greatly missed. Tom is survived by brothers Charlie Dunphy of Colonie, David Stephany of Delmar, Joe Rose of Green Bay, Wisc., David DiMezza of Latham; and sister Marie Luthringer of Toms River, N.J. Not to be forgotten, his beloved cat, Mitzi. Tom is predeceased by his father Charles Stephany, February 2003; mother Ruth Carter, May 2001; and a brother Richard Dunphy January 2015. A private, graveside ceremony will be held for immediate family and a few close friends Sunday at 1 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made in Tom's name to the Hope Soars Fund for Parkinson's Research, c/o Albany Med Foundation, 43 New Scotland Ave., MC-119, Albany, NY 12208. (https://www.amc.edu/foundation/make_a_gift/index.cfm
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Published by Albany Times Union on Dec. 6, 2020.