WILMINGTON — Thomas Daniel “Tom” Naylon, 90, died Thursday, April 29, 2021.
Born in Rochester, New York, and raised in the Town of Irondequoit, he was known as Tommy, the second child of William Thomas and Anna Maier Naylon. He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia, and survived by his wife of 67 years, Beverly; brother, William (Patricia); son, Kevin (Ling); daughters, Karen, Colleen (Russell) and Kathleen; and eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was proud of his second-generation U.S. citizenship, always reminding everyone of his maternal grandparents emigrating from Austria and Bavaria and his paternal grandparents from Ireland.
Tom attended Aquinas Institute in Rochester, where he participated in baseball, basketball and boxing. He was the captain of the basketball team and was three-time welterweight boxing champion. Tom was elected to the Aquinas Institute Hall of Fame in 2004. He was offered a boxing scholarship to Syracuse University, but instead attended the University of Portland, Oregon, on a basketball scholarship. Later, he transferred to the University of Rochester, New York, where he became captain of the basketball team in his senior year. He graduated with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration in 1954 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon release from active-duty, Tom joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, attaining the rank of captain prior to discharge.
Tom entered the management training program at Stromberg-Carlson Corporation in Rochester. From there, he joined U.S. Instrument Corp. (USI) in Charlottesville, Virginia, as materials manager. Numerous business trips to Munich, Germany, allowed him to enjoy his proud heritage. In 1964, Tom headed an industrial group working with the University of Virginia Athletic Director and basketball coach to promote the sale of tickets to the newly built University Hall basketball building which seated over 8,000 fans. The project was a great success and soon games were sold out. He has been an ardent UVA fan ever since. Tom left USI when he was offered the position of plant manager at Scott Aviation in Charlottesville.
Tom’s entrepreneur fever led him to reject an offer from ITT to relocate to Belgium and opened his own office furniture and supply business, Charlottesville Stationery. This led to his moving to Wilmington in 1973 to manage the Office Products Division of Jackson and Bell Co., owned by the Star News Newspaper. In 1975, when the paper was sold, Tom bought the division from the New York Times, renamed it The Office Showcase, and he and Beverly managed the company until they sold it and retired in 1986.
Tom loved all sports, and after his Marine Corps duty, he decided to take up golf. He got hooked and joined Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia, Echo Farms and the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington. At one time his handicap from the blue tees reached 3. He shot his age or under it over 150 times with his record being 76 or 9 under when he was 85.
Tom’s love for his family and his wife Beverly far exceeded anything else in his life. “Dad” to his children, “Poppy” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he was their idol and strength. His sense of humor and kindness to others are well-known. Along with the many friends he and Bev made over the years, Tom will be missed by many. We will embrace the memories of the life he lived and shared with all. He will live in our hearts and souls forever.
A graveside service will be held 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 5, at Oleander Memorial Gardens, Wilmington.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.