Tommy Richard Gregory
After a year of suffering, one of the greatest men we have ever known has received his reward. On Sunday evening, May 6, 2018, in the presence of his family, eighty-one year old Tommy Richard Gregory took his last breath on Earth and opened his eyes in Heaven. On March 23, 1937, Tommy was born to Hermon and Maye Gregory at the home of his grandparents in Ranger, Texas. When he was a child, his family relocated to Odessa, Texas. Tommy started his working career at the age of nine years, unloading grocery trucks before school. He continued working in the grocery business throughout his young adulthood; working his way up to department manager for Furr’s Supermarkets. His life changed in 1954 when a brown eyed beauty walked into Eastside Baptist Church, where his father pastored. The girl with the “Mona Lisa smile” captured his heart. Although her father warned her to “stay away from the preacher’s kid,” Billie Jo Rodenberg did not heed his warning. They married on July 27, 1956 at the ages of seventeen and nineteen. At the time of his passing, the two were married for over 61 years. Together they raised two daughters and adored their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At the time of his death, Tommy was looking forward to changing his name to Great-Great Grandpa.
Tommy made several career changes during his working days. He eventually left the grocery business to run a milk route for the Borden’s Company. His daughters remember the joy of waiting for Daddy to drive home in his big milk truck and hand them each a container of chocolate milk. Next, Tommy tried his hand in the life insurance business. Starting out as a sales agent for National Life and Accident Insurance Company, he earned promotions to the positions of staff manager and then district manager. After many years, he changed companies and began working for Lincoln National. He might have remained with the company until retirement, but there was a sudden change of plans. His brother, Dean, had a great idea - the two should join forces and open a roofing company. That is exactly what they did, and they enjoyed many years working together as co-owners of Gregory Roofing and Repair. After retirement, Tommy enjoyed writing poems for family and friends, working on projects in his back yard wood-working shop, and gathering pecans from trees all over town. Listening to Southern Gospel music was his favorite past-time and the Gregory home was always alive with the sounds of toe-tapping music. Laughter was a part of his DNA. He could make a joke out of anything and most everyone who knew him could tell a funny Tommy story.
Tommy is preceded in death by his parents and his four siblings. He is the last of the “preacher’s kids” and now Hermon and Maye are reunited with all their children: Nell, Ann, Dean, Tommy and Wendell.
He is survived by his wife, Billie; daughter - Kathy Lollar and husband, Steve; and daughter - Connie Aguirre and husband, Manuel. He is also survived by his grandchildren; April Lollar and Hunter Watson, Natalie and Pete Douga, Tomi Jo Aguirre, Riki and Ashlea Aguirre, and Micah Aguirre. His great-grandchildren include: Cameron Lollar, Aubreigh Ward, Joel Douga, Brennon Lollar, Kielyn Lollar, Aidan Ahrens, Cristian Elliott-Jarrett, and Liam Richards-Aguirre. Additionally, he was loved and admired by a multitude of extended family members.
The family would like to express our words of gratitude to those who have served Tommy so well during this heart-wrenching journey: Dr. Fernando Boccalandro, Nurse Marilyn Wade, Nurse Ashlea Aguirre, the dedicated employees of Home Hospice of Odessa and The Parks Senior Living of Odessa. A special thank you to Rev. Dr. Jimmy Braswell for walking this road with us and leading us through our precious Daddy’s transition.
Tommy trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. He died as he had lived, with the assurance of his salvation. He recently told us, “I’m going home. Get me out of here. I’m going to sing forever more.” We fully believe that he is finally home and is singing with the saints and angels. While his earthly loved ones grieve his passing, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. For our hope is in the promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Tommy, Uncle Tom, Daddy, Grandpa, G-Pa; well done. You loved us well and your legacy lives in each of us. We love you dearly. Now and forever.
Visitation will be from 6:00-8:00 pm, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at St. Andrew Cumberland Presbyterian Church with Reverend Dr. Jimmy Braswell officiating. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Arrangements are entrusted to Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home. To send family condolences please sign his guestbook at www.sunsetodessa.com.
Thanks for being the man we loved and appreciated. So sorry that we only heard about such a great and lovable man that we lost today. God be with the family. Love always, Bill & Pat McPherson
Bill & Pat McPhersonOdessa, TX
Uncle Tom was very special to me. He was my first employer, inspiration for being a business owner, and unfortunately, ( based on my looking like him more and more) shares many Gregory apearance genes (too much hair on our back and not enough on our heads).
I also learned a lot from him about how to conduct my life and my business. I always watched his total honesty with everyone (even when it was hard to do) and chose to run my life and business the same way.
The most important thing he did for me happened when I was very young. He was preaching during a revival at East Side Baptist when I surrendered my life to Jesus! He was such a good man! I just wonder how many others he played a role in their salvation. If I were guessing, I would say, more than we can count!!
Love you Uncle Tom. I will see you again some day!
Dean HarveyMagnolia, TX
Billie and family, we count it such a blessing to have known Tommy. Heaven’s choir has wonderful new voice. Love to you all, Bruce and Linda
Linda and Bruce CowanOdessa, TX