Tom Percy

ROCKLAND – Thomas F. Percy, artist and “Pop” to all, died at age 94, on Oct. 3, 2019, at the Sussman House in Rockland, Maine.  
Born in Roxbury, Mass., in 1925, Tom lived a large and influential life, filled with many passions that he pursued with gusto. Though his paintings live on the walls of his family’s homes as well as local businesses and galleries, his absence is felt deeply by all who knew him. 
Tom’s early years were spent in Massachusetts and Maine. He began painting in those years and never stopped.  After graduating from Morse High School in Bath, Maine, Tom moved his siblings and elderly parents from Maine to Marblehead, Mass., and got a job at Sebastian Miniatures.  There he assisted in the production and hand painting of collectible figurines and personally designed the company’s Shawmut Indian figure. 
Tom was a veteran of the Korean War. In 1953, he married Cynthia Wilkin, then went on to earn a master’s in forest management from University of Mass., Amherst.
From 1957 to 1976, Tom and Cynthia became house parents at Greer School, Hope Farm in Milbrook, N.Y., a boarding school for children from broken homes. Tom also taught drivers education, forestry, and vocational skills. These years are part of Tom’s living legacy; his positive guidance is still cherished today by the school’s alumni, many of whom still maintained relationships with him until his death. News of his passing brought many stories and messages from the Greer community, from teaching them how to operate a tractor, how to lead on the dance floor, to being a patient but firm advisor. All who knew him credit him with changing their lives for the better. 
Tom’s fatherly magnetism continued all his life. All of his nieces, nephews, younger cousins and even friends called him “Pop”, and Tom basked in the title. When the Percys left Greer, they returned to their now winterized summer home at Popham Beach, Maine, where Tom’s family had resided for several generations. Tom and Cynthia became involved with the local planning board and other town activities.  He spent 10 years working at BIW before retiring and all the while, he and Cynthia continued to manage their summer cottage business started in 1969,  T. Percy Cottages.   
Living in a historic but remote town far from big cities didn’t shrink his world at all. For example, Tom and younger sister, Ilene, took spontaneous trips to New York and Boston to see Broadway shows, and he drove his mother through a blizzard in the middle of the night to meet his first grandchild. 
When the Maine winters lost their charm, Tom and Cynthia became snow birds and spent the colder months in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 
At the age of 75, he decided roller blading would invite too many injuries and started learning tennis at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center. 
Tom then fell in love with Tucson, Arizona, and began spending his winters there.  His time on the tennis court led Tom to discover Pickleball and he quickly become a Senior Olympics gold medalist. Tom and his dear Ronnie Shy brought Pickleball back to Maine and started its popularity in the Bath area.
In his later years, Tom focused on painting, enjoying the company of his loved ones, strong coffee, and as many apple fritters as he could eat. As his energy waned, he found joy daily in his family, friends old and new, and in the beauty of the natural world. 
Tom has joined his parents, Minot & Ilene Percy; siblings Minot, Jack and Ilene Percy, Jr.; cherished niece Gail Percy Fitch, nephew Charlie Percy and beloved Ronnie Shy. 
Our family is sending out love and gratitude to Pop’s hospice team from Maine Health Care At Home:  Val, Richard, Kathy & the other guardian angels.
Tom is remembered by his wife, Cynthia Percy, sisters Alice and Carole, children Leila (husband, Jeff), Marion and David (wife Tracy) Percy, five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, many cousins, extended family and by his lifelong friend and co-conspirator, Johnny Chaffee. Tom’s first great grandson, who is on his way to us, will grow up with his Pop’s love of life.  
Memorial Service to be held at Grace Church, 1100 Washington Street, Bath, Maine, November 23 at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine
or plant a tree!