On Monday, November 2, 2020, Colonel Thomas Michael Early, USMC, (ret.), loving husband of Marie and father of Patrick and Kathleen, passed away after a long illness at the age of 78.
Thomas was born on June 25, 1942 in Worcester, Mass. to Luke and Mabel (Hill) Early. He graduated from St. John’s Prep in Worcester, North Adams State College (BS), and Central Michigan University (MA.) He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in May 1964.
Throughout his long distinguished career in the Marine Corps, he earned 3 Legions of Merit, a Bronze Star with Combat V, a Purple Heart, and numerous other citations. He served with distinction in Vietnam as a company commander with the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines. Following his retirement from the Marine Corps, he led a JROTC program, taught high school science, and was the director of the Virginia Commonwealth Challenge program.
Thomas had a passion for long-distance running, competing in the Boston, Honolulu, and Marine Corps marathons multiple times. He was an avid sports fan, coaching soccer and track and rooting on Notre Dame and the Washington Redskins. GO IRISH! He was devoted to his family and known for his dry wit, strength of character and loyalty.
Thomas is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Marie, his two children, Patrick (Karina) and Kathleen, and three grandchildren, Liam, Meghan, and Mikayla.
A visitation will be held from 9:00 until 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 7 at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 1801 Baltic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA. A service will follow at 11:00 a.m. at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1404 Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA. In lieu of flowers, please visit www.stjohnshigh.org to make contributions to The St. John’s Fund in Thomas’ honor.