Thomas R. O'MaraOctober 9, 1936 ~ August 18, 2017 (age 80)
Thomas R. O’Mara, of West Main St., Cortland, died on Friday, August 18, 2017 at the age of 80.
A son of the late Robert and Marion Smith O’Mara, Tom was born and raised in Cortland.
In 1953, at seventeen, he joined the United States Air Force and became trained as an electrical engineer who wrote manuals, taught classes and helped build missiles during the Vietnam War. In 1968 he was awarded The Minuteman of the Month award for the Minuteman Missile Program. Over those many years, he was based in Europe, the United States and for his final tour in Okinawa, Japan. He proudly and faithfully served his country for 20 years, retiring in 1973.
Although a bachelor with two young children, he met the love of his life on a blind date in 1961, Wilda Lightman, and married her in April 1962. One highlight of their life together was that they travelled to all 50 States, went on many cruises and took a very special trip to Ireland. They did everything together, you rarely saw one without the other, and they shared a true and timeless love.
Following his military retirement and graduation from TC3 with his degree in Criminal Justice, Tom worked in Loss Prevention at the Grand Union and then as a case manager for Cortland County. He retired in 1999 from Cortland Savings Bank, where he had been a Mortgage Originator.
Tom believed that if you lived and worked in a community that you had a responsibility to give back and he really took that to heart! He was a member of the Homer Elks Lodge #2506 and served as a Past Exalted Ruler, Past State Vice President for the South Central District, Past State District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler and Trustee of the NY State Elks Association. For the Homer Lodge, he was a former Trustee and House Committee Chairman, served as Chairmen of The Bell Jar, and Chairmen of the N.Y. State major projects for C. P.. He also helped countless hours for many activities within the lodge and the District. He was an active member of the Homer American Legion and was a member of the VFW.
Always known for his integrity and commitment to his community, after retiring Tom served as Treasurer for the Cortland Seniors Group, the Senior Men’s Group and the Senior Council. He will be missed by many as he always strived to be a ‘Friend to All’.
For thirty years Tom served as City of Cortland Police Commissioner and was the Chief Commissioner for the majority of those years. He was honored with a special Police Badge and a plaque commemorating his many years of tireless service.
Tom was a thoughtful, loving husband and father. He was very involved in the lives of his grandchildren and was a strong, loving and wonderful influence to Victoria, Julia, Sophia and Chad. He took his duty as a Godfather seriously and was involved in the lives of David Schlenker and Alison O’Mara.
Surviving is his loving wife of 55 years, Wilda Lightman O’Mara; his three children, Robert J. O’Mara of Las Vegas, NV; Shawna O’Mara Robbins of Mesa, AZ and Kellyann (Joseph) O’Mara Convertini of Cortland; four grandchildren, Chad Robbins, Victoria (Mark) Kanellis and Julia and Sophia Convertini. Also surviving are his sister, Joan O’Mara Dwyer of Hopkinton, MA; a brother, Andrew (Alana) O’Mara of Albany and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Tom was predeceased by a sister, Jane O’Mara McGrail.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 24, 2017 in St. Mary’s Church, Cortland, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Kenneth Kirkman. Interment in Arlington National Cemetery will be at the convenience of the family.
The O’Mara family will receive friends and relatives from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Donald L. Barber Funeral Home, 5016 US Route 11, Homer.
Memorial contributions in Mr. O’Mara’s memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice that benefits the Greater Cortland Community such as the Homer Elks or St. Mary’s School.