After a two-week battle with pneumonia (non-Covid), Thomas Aquinas O’Dea Sr. passed on to be with God on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at Morristown Medical Center.
His loving wife Mary Ann was by his side to hug him and pray with him before he passed.
Tom was born in Hornell, N.Y., in 1935 to Frank and Agatha (Keating) O’Dea before the family moved to Rutherford. He was the youngest of five in a strong Irish Catholic family. He attended St. Mary’s High School and was graduated in 1953.
Tom served his country in the National Guard while stationed at Fort Dix and was graduated from Seton Hall University in 1959.
After being asked to attend a St. Elizabeth’s College Tea Dance, Tom and Mary Ann (Branon) began a wonderful life together. They married on May 27, 1961, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in their hometown of Rutherford.
Hired by MetLife Insurance Agency in 1960, Tom began a career that spanned 33 years.
He cherished his time with his six sons, who all faithfully kept the peace at home with Mom until Dad got back from a long day at work.
A devout Catholic, Tom was calm, patient, kind and always present with you. He enjoyed church activities, travels with family, pop-up camper trips, visits to the Branon family farms in Fairfield, Vt., reunions and holidays with relatives and friends.
A move to Palm Coast, Fla., in the early 1990s brought them sun, fun and visitors for many years until they returned to Basking Ridge in 2010 to be close to their family, their young grandkids and old friends. These past 10 years, Tom and Mary Ann traveled the country to visit their family and babysit their grandkids.
Faith, family, love and devotion was the world he created and shared with everyone he ever met. You were not a stranger for long.
Tom was predeceased by his brother, James “Jimmy” O’Dea, U.S. Marine Corps, killed in action in World War II; his parents, Frank and Agatha; his brothers, Paul and wife, Ann, and Frank and wife, Mary, and nephews Dan and Tim; and his sister, Mary Helen, husband Bob Liddell and niece Beth.
He leaves his legacy and faith with his loving wife of 59 years, Mary Ann.
He is also survived by his six sons, their wives and seven grandchildren: Mark; Tom Jr. and Donna and their son, Declan (16); John and Irene, and sons Connor (26) and Sean (24); Ken; Christopher and Chieko and son, Luca (9) and daughter, Maya (6); and Dan and Carol Lynn and their sons, Patrick (8) and Brendan (2).
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Higgins Home for Funerals in Watchung.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made Our Lady of the Mount Church, 170 Mount Bethel Road, Warren, N.J., 07059 (https://ourladyofthemount.org/give).