Thomas Waldrop

Thomas Coleman Waldrop

Wednesday, November 12th, 1924 - Friday, February 12th, 2021
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Thomas Coleman Waldrop, tall Texan, lifelong patriot, faithful and devout Christian, passed away in Dallas, Texas on February 12, 2021 at age ninety-six. Though he hung up his boots, Tom left a trail of dust as he spent his life ardently pursuing one interest after another.

Graveside service is scheduled for 12 noon Thursday, March 18 at Moore Memorial Gardens, 1219 N. Davis Dr., with Tom’s grandson, Shawn Waldrop officiating. The service will be livestreamed on the Wade Family Funeral Home Facebook page. Pallbearers include grandsons Bryan Waldrop, Shawn Waldrop, Jeffrey Waldrop, James Grissel, Jeremy Grissel, Dalton Waldrop and granddaughter, Taylor Waldrop Rhea. To honor his life with family and friends, a Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church at a date to be announced, with the hope that all can attend and celebrate.
Born November 12, 1924 to Gilbert Coleman Waldrop and Camilla Maree Butler Waldrop, Tom began his adventurous life in Dallas, where his father worked as a patent attorney. The family moved to Washington DC for his father’s continued patent work, then back to Dallas during the Depression. Tom often described the conditions so many folks struggled to endure during those Depression years. Life was tough, but his father somehow managed ownership of a farm in Garland, giving Tom a place to ride his horse, Trixie, and the family a spot to enjoy outings for fishing and picnics.
Summers were most always spent “back home” in Tennessee where his parents were raised, and where loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins looked forward to their yearly return. Conditions were far more rural in that part of the country, and for a kid, it was just the kind of place to run barefoot and spit watermelon seeds.

Tom fondly spent his high school years in Monahans, Texas. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, most young men in his class were eager to join the fight. It was after his family’s move to Irving that Tom signed up for military service. Following his enlistment and Naval training, he spent the remainder of World War II stationed in the South Pacific, where he served as an aviation training instructor.

Following the war, Tom married Betty Jean Irvin Orton, whom he had met in Irving. After starting school at Arlington State College, as well as starting a family with the birth of their first son, he and Betty Jean headed to Austin and enrolled in the University of Texas where Tom studied engineering.

At the start of the Korean War the family moved to Arlington, and Tom began work for the company his father had cofounded a few years before. Newly relocated to Arlington, Oil States Rubber Company manufactured molded rubber products, primarily for the oil industry. As the company grew Tom took on various roles, as an engineer, products manager, and marketing manager.
With Arlington enjoying a spurt of rapid growth, Tom became active in civic affairs, serving on various boards, including the Planning and Zoning Board, the Recreation Board, YMCA, Tarrant County Girl Scouts, and Arlington Rotary Club. He was elected to the City Council and served six years, part of that time as mayor pro-tem. He was named Outstanding Young Man by the Arlington Jaycees and Citizen of the Year by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

In 1961 Tom founded Regal Tool & Rubber Company in Grapevine, Texas, serving as its president and CEO until its merger with Texas International Company. Regal moved to Corsicana in 1975, having become prominent in its chosen markets of oil tools and oilfield rubber goods manufacture, with worldwide sales, and branch plants in New Orleans and Venezuela. During that time Tom was a member of several manufacturing associations, presented technical papers, received a Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation, was granted thirteen US patents for developments in oilfield equipment, and served on the Board of Directors of Texas International.

While involved with activities in Grapevine, Tom acted as president of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce and was on the organizing board of the Grapevine Rotary Club. He helped charter American Bank of Commerce in Grapevine and served as Chairman of the Board for six years.
When his company moved to Corsicana, so did Tom. He soon retired, finally able to achieve his life-long dream of owning a ranch. But ranching wasn’t retirement. It wasn’t long before he was attending ranch management classes at Navarro College and serving on agriculture and college committees. He loved the physical work on his Wolf Creek Ranch, raising cattle with the help of his dog, Hobo. It was the perfect lure to draw his grandchildren, and they will long remember the wonderful times there with PaPaw. During his time in Corsicana Tom became involved with banking once again, helping organize City National Bank in 1983. A founding director, he served as a member of that board for 37 years until his death, being named Chairman of the Board Emeritus in 2016.

Of course Tom still didn’t understand retirement. He had a deep feeling of duty and responsibility, instilled by his parents so many years before. Soon he found himself on the campaign trail, then heading to Austin to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. While serving four terms representing Navarro and Henderson counties, he took the job very seriously, always fighting for the high principles he wanted his beloved Texas to uphold.

About twenty years ago Tom moved from Austin to Pantego to be near his family. He became a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Arlington and enjoyed friendship and fellowship there. Through the years he has been an active supporter of many causes, charitable organizations and scholarships.
Standing, as he would say, “six foot five and a half”, Tom was a true Texan in stature. Cowboy boots and hat were most often his dress, complete with his signature turquoise belt buckle. And he was a storyteller by nature, never forgetting details he had carefully observed. Researching and writing the history of his family was a passion that kept him involved and busy for many years.

Tom is survived by his children Tommy Waldrop, Alice Grissel and Harold Waldrop and their spouses Lila Burges Waldrop, James Grissel, and Julie McCulley Waldrop; 9 grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; special friends Koma Waldrop and Cynthia Gilbert; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents Gilbert Coleman Waldrop and Camilla Butler Waldrop, and his sisters Rachel Waldrop Harris, Ruth Waldrop Hord, and Molly Waldrop Lara.

Wade Family Funeral Home
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, March 18th, 2021 | 12:00pm
    Thursday, March 18th, 2021 12:00pm
    Moore Memorial Gardens
    1219 North Davis Drive
    ARLINGTON, TX 76012
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Thursday, March 18th, 2021 | 12:00pm
    Thursday, March 18th, 2021 12:00pm
    Moore Memorial Gardens
    1219 N Davis Dr.
    Arlington, United States 76012
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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