Tom died on September 7, 2019, at the age of 88, peacefully at Bethania Home Care in Westminster, after a long battle with dementia and a short battle with cancer. He was the son of Dr. Thomas M. and Evalee Proctor, and was born in Nan, Siam (now Thailand) where his father was working as a surgeon at the hospital there at the time. The family then returned to the U.S., and Tom spent his childhood in upstate New York. Tom was predeceased by both of his parents, his sister, Louise Doxtator, his wife, Joan Proctor, and his longtime companion, Selma Poli.
He is survived by his daughter, Stacy P. Shaffer and son-in-law Clark Shaffer, granddaughter Kelly Shaffer Miller and husband Thomas L. Miller, granddaughter Katie Shaffer and fiancé Michael Betz, and great-grandson Thomas L. Miller, Jr.
Tom was a physicist, with a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Masters from Penn State University, and additional graduate work in Physics at the University of Maryland. He worked at the research lab at Corning Glass Works, and then in the acoustics lab at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), authoring numerous articles in the field of acoustics during his career there. After retiring in 1991, he continued as a contract researcher at NIST for many years.
In addition to his career in physics, Tom was a pilot, having obtained his private pilot’s license in the 1970’s. He built a single seat aerobatic aircraft (a “Pitts”), and flew it for many years out of the Frederick Airport, where he was an active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Tom was involved in politics after he retired, having been the Democratic Precinct chairman in his area. He was interested in environmental issues, and was an active member of the Sugarloaf Citizens Association, which has worked to preserve the environment in and around the Sugarloaf Mountain region. He enjoyed hiking on Sugarloaf, and running on the C&O Canal path, having been a cross country runner in both high school and college. Among his other interests were reading (mysteries, especially), listening to music, watching PBS, and using his telescope to explore astronomy. Tom will be remembered for his sense of humor, which was often irreverent but always good natured.
The family will receive friends on Friday, September 27, 2019, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Fletcher Funeral & Cremation Services, 254 East Main Street, Westminster.
Charitable contributions may be made to Carroll Hospice, 292 Stoner Avenue, Westminster, Md. 21157, or to EAA Chapter 524, 809 London Court, Frederick, MD 21701.
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