Thomas Joseph Herrmann was born on June 6, 1957 in Sisters Hospital, Buffalo, New York to Robert and Joan Kennedy Herrmann. Tom attended St. Mary of the Lake school through eighth grade and Canisius High School. In 1975, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he served as Company Commander for the 17th Company and participated in many extracurricular activities including flag football and sailing. Upon graduation, he was selected for flight school in Pensacola, Florida, where he flew the T-34 fixed wing aircraft. He was assigned to HT-8 for TH-57 helicopter basic training and to HT-18 for UH-1 helicopter advanced training. Tom’s first permanent duty station was NAS Norfolk, Virginia. He flew the SH-2 helicopter, completing multiple deployments to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and North Atlantic aboard various small platform ships (frigates and destroyers) in support of U.S. Navy operations during this three year assignment.
Tom’s next duty station was in Pensacola, Florida as a flight instructor in VT-2, where he taught many student naval aviators how to fly. It was during this assignment that he met his future wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Baldy. It was fitting that they met in the Catholic Church in Pensacola as they went on to teach religious education in adjoining classrooms, attended mass together regularly, and actively participated in every parish they joined during their married life.
Tom transitioned to the Naval Reserve in 1987. He applied and was accepted to Harvard Business School shortly thereafter. He loved being a student again and excelled in the academics. He and Betsy were married between his first and second year of business school at the United States Naval Academy chapel on June 18, 1988. Living in Boston to finish out his 2nd year of HBS, they were able to take advantage of all that Boston had to offer. Upon graduating in 1989, Tom took a job with United Technologies where he rotated through various companies within UT every 6 months. He worked for Pratt and Whitney, Otis Elevator, and Sikorsky Aircraft, taking them to Farmington, Connecticut, Paris, France, Middletown, Connecticut, and Shelton, Connecticut. In Paris, Tom and Betsy traveled throughout Europe, planning trips to different countries every weekend. In Middletown, Tom and Betsy co-taught religious education to 7th graders in their home. Incredibly, they still wanted a family after that middle school experience. While at Sikorsky, Tom traveled to the Far East and met people who would become some of his lifelong friends. Once a month, Tom traveled to Weymouth, Massachusetts for Naval Reserve duty. He flew helicopters in the unit, continuing his lifelong love affair with flying.
Tom and Betsy welcomed their first two children, Daniel Patrick and Caroline Elizabeth into their family while living in Shelton, Connecticut. In 1996, eager to live in a more temperate climate, Tom accepted an offer to work in Nashville, Tennessee. It was in Nashville that they welcomed Ryan Joseph and Delaney Faith into their family. Tom went on to work at four other businesses in the Nashville area, retiring from Cardinal Health in March of 2019.
Tom, Betsy and the children were very active in their Brentwood church, Holy Family. Along with being a daily communicant, Tom wanted to serve others. The Room In The Inn, Haiti Mission trips, and the Knights of Columbus were among his favorite ministries.
Tom took early retirement in March 2019 so that he could spend more time enjoying the fruits of his labor, planning multiple trips with Betsy and the children. One of Tom’s first trips was with his son Danny and his brothers. They took a motorcycle trip through Kentucky to close out his working career and usher in his life of leisure. In May 2019, Tom saw his son Ryan graduate from college with high distinction and his daughter Delaney graduate from high school, also with honors. The family attended a Herrmann family wedding in Mexico at the end of May, where Tom was able to see most of his family.
In June, Tom celebrated three children’s birthdays, his 62nd birthday and his 31st wedding anniversary. In July, Tom helped his dad celebrate his 90th birthday. A few weeks later, while visiting his mother-in-law in Mobile, Alabama with his wife and daughter, he became ill and was diagnosed with T Cell lymphoma. He and Betsy returned to Nashville to undergo treatment. The doctors, nurses, and support staff at Vanderbilt said they had never seen a patient so compliant, polite, determined, or able to bounce back from so many serious setbacks. Tom was appreciative of each and every one of them and the care they provided.
Tom was a hardworking and loving husband and father. He is survived by his wife, Betsy; children, Danny, Callie, Ryan and Delaney; parents, Bob and Joan Herrmann; his brothers, Mike, Jack, and Jim; and sister, Peg; their spouses; and many nieces and nephews. He was a very accomplished pilot and scholar, as well as a devoted father, husband, son, brother, friend, patriot, and disciple. He was a very humble man with a heart large enough to love everyone in his life completely and without malice. He leaves behind a huge hole no one or nothing will ever be able to fill. He was our hero.
In lieu of flowers, Tom wanted donations to go to the Haiti mission program at Holy Family Catholic Church. Checks can be made payable to HFCC, with “Tom Herrmann memorial” on the memo line.