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Thomas E. Paxton, age 88, died on June 23, 2014.
He was born on Dec. 27, 1925, to Christine and Charles Paxton in Port Arthur, Texas. The family moved to Sweetwater in 1929. Tom devoted much of his youth to the Boy Scouts of America where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 14. He graduated from high school in 1943 and immediately went to Texas A&M University. World War II interrupted his studies in 1944 when he joined the Air Force in pilot training at Randolph Field in San Antonio. He was honorably discharged in November 1945, when he returned to A&M to continue his pursuit of a degree in mechanical engineering. He graduated in 1949 and joined Gulf Oil Corporation in Philadelphia, PA, as an inspector of oil refinery mechanical equipment.
It was while he was in Philadelphia that he met Ruth Schlotter, the love of his life for over 50 years. They were married on Oct. 13, 1951. Two sons, Tom Jr. and Steve were born in Philadelphia in 1952 and 1954 respectively.
In 1965, Gulf transferred Tom and family to Denmark where his company built its first European refinery. He was Manager of Engineering at this new plant. His third son, Glenn, was born in Denmark in 1965.
In 1968, Tom was transferred to Milan, Italy, where Gulf was planning to build another refinery. His only daughter, Janice, was born in Milan in 1968. Tom was appointed Refinery Manager of this new Italian plant in 1971.
After almost eight years in Europe, in 1972 Gulf transferred Tom and family to Toledo, OH, where Tom became Manager of Engineering at one of Gulfâ€™s several domestic refineries. In 1980, the next and final transfer was to Houston where Tom as Manger of Safety and Accident Prevention for all the domestic refineries. He retired at the age of 58 in 1984.Â In 1988, Tom and Ruth designed and built their dream house in Kingwood, TX. Tom lived there until 2012.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, in 2002; his sister, Mary Roberts, in 2006; and his brother, Charles Jr., in 1924.
Survivors include his son, Tom Jr. of Aspen, CO, son Steven of San Francisco, CA, son Glenn of Houston, TX and daughter Janice of Austin, TX. He had three granddaughters, Monique, Kennedy and Jordan, and one great-granddaughter, Audrina, at the time of his death.
Tomâ€™s main interests, outside of family and his long career at Gulf Oil, were tennis, church choir and woodworking. His large workshop was well known by the projects he provided for the Kingwood United Methodist Church and for family and friends during his 30 years of retirement.
Memorial services were held on Saturday, June 28, in Kingwood, TX.