Thomas (Tom) Michael McDermott of West Chester died on Sunday, November 7, 2021, at Paoli Memorial Hospital at the age of 79. He was surrounded in love and prayer by his beloved wife Jan McDermott (nee DeLeon), four daughters, and Father Arul Amalraj. Tom was a devoted husband and best friend to Jan for 54 years.
Born October 25, 1942, in Philadelphia, PA, he was the son of the late Thomas and Marie (nee Patterson) McDermott. “Tommy” spent his childhood in Springfield, PA, and summers in Ocean City, NJ. He graduated from Springfield High School in Delaware County and went on to earn an undergraduate degree in history and education from West Chester University in 1966. It was at West Chester State where he met the love of his life, Jan, planted roots in Chester County, and became the Tom McDermott just about every person he crossed paths within West Chester (and beyond) came to know and love.
Tom spent his early career teaching 5th grade in the Penn-Delco School District and at the Chester A. Arthur Public School in South Philadelphia. He loved sharing his passion for history and geography with his students, including real life geography lessons that included taking a group of his students on their first trip to the Jersey Shore. Tom was a natural salesman and found his calling after taking a Dale Carnegie course. A people person, he spent most of his career working in various sales roles in the textile and electronics industries and spent his later years growing a successful transportation business doing what he loved - hitting the open road!
Tom was passionate about geography and loved to see and experience the world; whether through the pages of National Geographic or an episode of Nova on PBS; traveling to small towns and villages in South America and South Africa sourcing textiles; taking a cross country road trip with his father; spending summers with his family on LBI; driving up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco with Jan; or taking the trip of a lifetime to Ireland with his best friend.
Tom was a larger than life person who sought to find a connection with everyone he met. Anyone lucky enough to have crossed his path remembers him. Tom was always present in the moment and had a one-of-a-kind way of making people feel special and loved. The pinnacle of his love was for his daughters. He was the original “girl dad.” Raising four strong, successful, and compassionate women was his proudest achievement and he took any opportunity to tell people about his girls. Tom was over the moon to finally be blessed with grandsons, who he took on annual overnight boys’ trips to be sure they knew him as a “fun Poppy.” His two adoring granddaughters were the apple of his eye.
Tom is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jan; his four daughters, Lauren Powelson (Robert), Taryn DeVincent, (Richard), Meghan Thompson (Mark) and Kaitlin Hopkins (Ian); and his brother James McDermott. He is predeceased by his parents and sister Marianne McDermott-Hart. His greatest joy was being Poppy to his eight grandchildren, Douglas, Nathan, and Anna DeVincent; Ryan and Shane Powelson; Andrew and Jane Thompson; and his grandson and namesake, Thomas “Tommy” Hopkins, born in August. His family was truly the light of his life.
Relatives and friends are invited for visitation with the family on Thursday, November 11, 2021, from 5-8 p.m. at the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, 410 N Church St, West Chester, PA 19380 610-696-1181, www.DellaFH.com. A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 11 a.m. at the St. Patrick Church, 104 Channing Ave, Malvern, 19355.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to West Chester University Foundation, in memory of Thomas McDermott, to support students pursuing a degree in education. Please make checks payable to WCU Foundation, Memo: In Memory of Thomas McDermott, and mail to 202 Carter Drive, West Chester, PA 19382. Gifts can also be made through the Foundation’s secure website at http://www.wcufoundation.org/tribute-gifts/
As a man of great faith, memorial contributions in Tom’s name can also be made to St. Patrick Church, 104 Channing Ave, Malvern, 19355.
West Chester University Foundation, In Memory of Thomas McDermott
202 Carter Drive, West Chester PA 19382
Please make checks payable to WCU Foundation, Memo: In Memory of Thomas McDermott,
St. Patrick Church
104 Channing Ave, Malvern PA 19355