Obituary: Thomas Ingersoll Theis, 68, of Milford

Thomas Ingersoll Theis, 68, of Milford, CT, died Friday, July 12, 2013.

Tom, born in Bridgeport to Walter T. Theis and Helen Ingersoll Theis, was a lifelong resident of Milford.

After graduating from Jonathan Law High School in 1963 Tom joined the US Marine Corps at Parris Island, SC; he was the Honor Graduate of his platoon, given the rank of PFC, and awarded the Dress Blue Uniform. His first duty station was Camp Lejeune, NC, followed by Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He served in Vietnam with Marine Air Group 36 as a Helicopter Door Gunner and was promoted to Sgt. for his outstanding service during the war.

Five days after he was honorably discharged in 1966, Tom began his career in the mailroom of SNET. Over the course of 35 years he made many lifelong friends, worked his way up to lineman, and finished as a project manager. He retired from NEON, Inc. in 2008.

Tom was a member of the American Legion, Post 0034, Milford, the VFW Post 7788, and the Marine Memorial Association. Tom cultivated many interests. He was an avid gardener, who learned to love the soil from his mother, and passed along that knowledge to his children. For many years, Tom and wife, Mary Jane, could be found side by side up to their elbows in soil. Tom also loved reading and perusing bookstores. It was important for him to instill a love of reading in his children, and he has.

He was an accomplished musician, who mastered a variety of instruments. He started playing in bands as a child; most recently he taught himself to play left-handed violin (no small task). He passed his love for music onto his children, often sitting beside them as they practiced. He inspired them to continue learning by exposing them to many musical genres, incorporating legends like Willie Nelson, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and The Rolling Stones. He had an all-encompassing curiosity about almost everything on earth.

Words alone cannot describe his legacy, but it is eternal and WILL be carried on by those who knew him.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Jane Tynan; a brother, Dana H. Theis of New Haven; a son, Walter E. Theis of Arizona, three daughters, Tammy Theis-Satterlee of Milford, Tricia Theis Rogalski of Baltimore and Elizabeth J. Theis of Brooklyn; a son-in-law, Alexander Rogalski of Baltimore; three step-children, Marina King of Milford, Rebecca Smith Cassel of San Francisco, and Kevin and Jessica Smith of Virginia; 11 grandchildren: Nathaniel and Julia Satterlee; Georgia and Rainer Rogalski; Makaela Smith and Rhiannon King; Daniel and Kai Cassel; Alec, Shannon and Scarlet Smith, along with many friends and family.

He was predeceased by his parents; his brother Walter I. Theis; and his son-in-law, Erik Cassel.

Gregory F. Doyle Funeral Home, 291 Bridgeport Avenue, Milford, handled arrangements. Burial in Milford Cemetery.

Charitable donations may be made in Thomas’s memory to the following organizations: Beth El Homeless Shelter and Soup Kitchen, 90 New Haven Avenue, Milford, CT 06460; Christ Episcopal Church,, 2000 Main St Stratford, CT 06615; Milford Historical Society, 34 High Street, Milford, CT 06460.