Obituary: Thomas Townsend Drysdale

Thomas T. Drysdale, an adjunct associate professor of education from 1986 to 1995, died Feb. 28, 2013. He was 91.

Dr. Drysdale was born on May 4, 1921, in Alamosa, Colo., to Oneta Moore Kirkpatrick and Thomas Townsend Drysdale, Sr. He finished high school in Compton, Calif., and attended Compton Junior College, where he met his future wife, Norma Fay Hall. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and served in WWII as a B-24 pilot in the Eighth Air Force, 44th Bomb Group, and flew missions over Sicily, Naples, Normandy and Germany. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross and European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal. After WWII, he served 30 years in the U. S. Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Dr. Drysdale received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Whittier College and a doctorate in education from The George Washington University.

He taught in the Whittier elementary school system from 1952 to 1956. He served as a principal and superintendent in the Department of Defense Dependent School System in England, Germany and Hawaii from 1956 to 1981.

He was an adjunct professor of education at Northern Arizona University from 1984 to 1994.

“Tom was a true visionary who was dedicated to his mission,” said NAU President Emeritus Gene Hughes. “That was true of his careers and especially of the creation and support of the American Overseas Schools Historic Society its archives and historic park. In my mind, Tom truly exemplified the power of what one individual can accomplish in a lifetime.”

A resident of Goodyear, Ariz., for 18 years, he leaves his beloved wife of 70 years, Norma Fay Hall. He was the father of Lianne of Ozark, Missouri; Peter David of Dingmans Ferry, Pa.; Connie Marie of Branford, Conn.; Dale Thomas of Alexandria, Va.; Brian and Karl, both of Goodyear. He also leaves six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, and a sister, Emma Lou Willis of Kerrville, Texas.

Services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Abel Funeral Services, 1627 N. 51st Ave., in Phoenix. Internment will take place at noon Friday, March 8, at Citizens Cemetery in Flagstaff.