After a well lived, rich and full life, Thomas Henry Vanderspurt of Brick and Midland, Georgia (formerly of Stockton, NJ and Glastonbury, CT) passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, surrounded by the ones he laughed with, lived for and loved.
Family was essential to Tom. His wife, Maureen was his best friend for over 51 years. They traveled the world together, visiting 6 continents and all 50 states, often bringing their grandsons. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page” was Tom’s mantra. Together, they thoroughly enjoyed their grandchildren, history, theater, NYC and each other. He is also survived by his three girls, Ashley Vanderspurt of Pt. Pleasant and her husband, Alan Hackel, Cecily Vanderspurt M.D. Ph. D and Hadley Vanderspurt of Midland, GA. Tom was never happier than when he was sitting by a fire reading Tolkien to his grandchildren, Courtland, Quin and Teagan Hackel.
Born in Massachusetts, he was the son of the late Lillian (Bruwer) and Honore Vanderspurt. His formal education came from Central Catholic High School-which highlighted Tom and his career in a 2010 article of their magazine, The Emblem-Lowell Technological Institute (cum laude) and his doctorate in Catalysis -Physical Inorganic Chemistry from Princeton. His doctoral advisor was the renowned scientist John Turkevich, a pioneer in the use of catalysts who worked on the Manhattan Project and laid the groundwork for the widespread use of unleaded fuel. But his informal learning never stopped. Having endless curiosity and always a book nearby, a colleague once remarked, “Tom was blazingly intelligent.”
He was a Senior Research Associate for Celanese in Summit, Oxirane International in Princeton, Exxon in Clinton and Houston and a fellow at United Technologies in East Hartford, Connecticut. He is a holder of 65 US patents.
Along with family, community service was paramount in Tom’s world. Because his interests were broad, he enjoyed serving on boards as diverse as the Library of Passaic Township in Millington and the Board of Trustees of the Delaware River Mill Society in Stockton. He was elected a member of the Democratic County Committee for East Amwell Township and president of the New York/New Jersey Catalysis Society. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council #10024. He served in the United States Army Chemical Officers Basic Corps in the early 1970’s.
Family and friends savored his Beef Wellington each Christmas and countless others enjoyed his blueberry pancakes, for which he won the Better Homes and Garden recipe Cook-of-the-Month Contest! He made his one (and only) stage debut as the Mayor in Carmen at Hartford’s Bushnell Theater.
Tom led a life of great success and happiness and he leaves us with golden memories. The sadness and ache of Tom not being here envelops us daily.
A private family service will be conducted by Rev. Kevin D. Robb OP, a family friend of over 50 years.
In lieu of flowers, please have a Mass said for Tom at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Bay Head.