Thomas B. Decker, 78, made 3 arrests for FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List as special agent

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Thomas B. Decker, of Holden Beach, died at home of sudden cardiac arrest on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, at the age of 78.

Born in Cortland, New York on Sept. 2, 1937, he was the son of the late Fredrick and Helen Benedict Decker. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Decker.

Tom grew up in Ithaca, New York and attended Ithaca High and Wyoming Seminary. Decker earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Cortland in 1961. He was a collegiate All-American football player as a standout running back and earned all-state honors on the baseball team. He was inducted into the Wyoming Seminary Hall of Fame, the Cortland Hall of Fame and was the co-founder of the “Cortaca Jug.”

In 1962, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and for two seasons played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Canadian Football League, including the 1962 Grey Cup team. Between 1961 and 1963, Decker taught and coached at Hamburg High (New York) and also earned a master’s degree from Ithaca College in 1964.

For 23 years, Tom served as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigated bank robberies, organized and white collar crime and international drug cartels. He made three arrests of fugitives on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List.

In 1987, Decker retired from the FBI and became a sales representative in North Carolina for Champion Sporting Goods. Since 1992, he has been the owner of Tom Decker and Associates, an active apparel company catering to college and high school teams, book stores, resorts and special markets.

For years Tom coached his boys in youth football, basketball and baseball. He also coached the girl’s basketball team at Hale High School in Raleigh. He founded a softball tournament in Columbus, Ohio that in 1992 was renamed the Tom Decker Law Enforcement Softball Tournament. He was also a member of the Holden Beach Recreational Board, The Beach Turtle Patrol and Wing’s Ministry.

Surviving are his wife of 57 years, Jane McElwee Decker; sons, T.D. Decker (Rozzie), of Wayne, Illinois, Tom Decker (Lee), of Winston-Salem, Tim Decker (Kelly), of Coral Springs, Florida and Todd Decker (Laura), of Birmingham, Alabama; sister, Patricia Spencer, of Rochester, New York; and grandchildren, Bobbie, Maggie, Tommy, Ty, Drew, Katherine, Tory, Nicole, Caroline, Dani, John and Will.

A celebration of life will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at Holden Beach Chapel where he was an active member.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Holden Beach Chapel, 107 Rothschild St., Holden Beach, NC 28462.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Brunswick Funeral Service.

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