Thomas Dawson Wiard was born on November 27, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. He died on June 7, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Maxwell, son Richard, granddaughters Keri and Amy.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years Sonia (Sunny); sons Barbara, Thomas Jr., Rob, Ted and stepson Nathan Strong. Also, brother William; 5 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild; In-laws Priscilla and Jack Brower, godson Robert Brower and several nephews and nieces.
He graduated from Muskegan, MI, high school, attended Culver Military Academy and spent 4 years in the Navy. He graduated from Univ. from Michigan majoring in physics and mathematics. He began his nuclear career in a research reactor on the University’s campus. He then joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, overseeing the work of nuclear research reactors. Then engaging in the firing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada test site. Other missions have included flying a science aircraft to collect data on a complete solar eclipse, aurora borealis, French nuclear tests and mapping Earth’s magnetic field lines.
In 1973 he married Sunny and went to work for a reactor design company (EBASCO) in New York City. In 1976, Tom was called upon by the US Department of Energy in Las Vegas, NV to lead nuclear explosives security at the Nevada Test Site. Tom was then assigned as Site Manager for the Nevada Office of Eastern Measurements Operations, located at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, responsible for overseeing aerial radiological surveys and nuclear emergency response on the East Coast and abroad.
Tom retired in 2002 to Crystal River, FL for 18 years before moving to Lakeview Terrace Retirement Community in Altoona, FL where he enjoyed living and made many friends. Volunteering was a big part of Tom’s life. He was Santa Claus during the season for an organization in Las Vegas, NV, which raised money to help provide medical services to children in need. After retiring, Tom volunteered for the Guardian ad Litem in Citrus County, FL, defending in court for abused and neglected children. He also volunteered at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Tom enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing, sailing, camping, travelling, archery, tennis, ping pong, and working on projects in his woodworking and metal shop. Mostly, Tom said he enjoyed life.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 25 at 2:00 pm in the auditorium of Lakeview Terrace Retirement Community, Altoona, FL. Friends are invited to participate.
Published by Citrus County Chronicle on June 19, 2022.