Windham, NH — Thomas Aaron Wilson, 93, of Windham, N.H., died on June 9, 2013, after a period of declining health. He was born in his family homestead in Windham on July 26, 1919, the only son of Clarence H. and Margaret T. (Shea) Wilson.
Thomas was a 1937 graduate of Woodbury High School in Salem, N.H. At the age of eighteen, with a desire to “work on airplanes,” Thomas secured employment at Hamilton Standard, a division of United Aircraft Corporation. He started out as a mechanic assisting engineering personnel in the Experimental Department. He also worked on propeller assembly, and during these early years he gained the technical expertise which would serve him well throughout a forty-year career as a Hamilton Standard Technical Representative. Thomas worked on contract with the United States Navy, as well as the United States Air Force in military installations throughout the United States, to include Maryland, Arizona, California, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii, Georgia, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Maine. He also travelled throughout the world with military contracts in the Marianas, Guam, the Philippines, Turkey, Egypt and China.
Pinnacles of his career included an historic September 1948, delivery flight of the first forty-passenger, 300 mile-per-hour pressurized Convair-Liner aircraft, which travelled 19,000 miles from San Diego, Calif., to Melbourne, Australia for Trans Australia Airlines. He was also particularly proud of his involvement with VXE-6 deployments to Antarctica over a three-year period. Family members will always remember a scratchy ham radio phone call from the South Pole from their Dad!
As world travelled as he was, Thomas reveled most in being home with his beloved wife, Anne, and his children. His children remember him as one who would return home from work to a houseful of kids, roll up his shirtsleeves and dive into helping with meal preparation in his shirt, boxer shorts and socks! He was committed to each and every one of his children, throughout his long life, and loved attending family events where his growing family honored life’s trials and tribulations with tight-knit togetherness.
In his later years, Thomas was a shining example to family and friends of how one loves fiercely, as he cared for his wife, Anne, during her lengthy illness prior to her death in 2006. He then showed his true New Hampshire Yankee tenacity as he battled cancer and declining health with physical rebounds akin to the fieriest phoenix!
Thomas was also always proud that he continued to live independently in the Wilson homestead in Windham, where generations of Wilsons have lived for over two hundred years. Passers –by, who would stop in for a visit, would invariably be treated to a tour of the old homestead, his beloved “bahn,” and the wooded lanes where he put the cows out to pasture, on chilly New Hampshire mornings, as a barefoot New Hampshire boy. The walls at the Depot Road house, and all of our hearts, will forever hold all of the many stories of his life with the same tenacity as that young boy riding the birches on his grandfather’s land.
Thomas is predeceased by his wife of sixty-four years, Anne. He is also pre-deceased by an infant son, Joseph Aaron; his daughter, Margaret T. LaFleur of Derry, N.H.; and sister, Helen Wilson Bolton of Londonderry, N.H.
He is survived by his children, Mary J. Massa and husband, Joseph of Derry; Thomas A. Wilson and wife, Mary Jane of Milton, MA; William T. Wilson and wife, Babette of Derry; Cornelius Wilson and wife, Roxanne of Derry; Frank O. Wilson of Windham; Madeline Bergeron and husband, Dennis of New Boston, N.H.; Helen McCarty and husband, Normand of Sparta, N.J; Patricia L. Fowler and husband Christopher of Derry; and Nancy J. Riddervold and husband, James of Clifton Park, N.Y. He is also survived by 19 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
ARRANGEMENTS: After cremation, visiting hours will be held Friday, June 14, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 15 Birch St., Derry. A funeral service will follow at 7 p.m. in the funeral home. Committal of his cremated remains will be Saturday, June 15, at 10 a.m. at Forest Hill Cemetery of E. Derry. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Windham Rail Trail Alliance, P.O. Box 4317, Windham, NH 03087, mark donations for restoration of the historic Windham Depot area. To send a condolence, or for more information, please visit www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.