Thomas Wiard Obituary (1932 – 2022) – Crystal River, FL

Thomas Dawson Wiard was born November 27, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. He died June 7, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Maxwell, son Richard, granddaughters Keri and Amy.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sonia (Sunny); children Barbara, Thomas, Jr., Rob, Ted, and step-son Nathan Strong. So, brother William; 5 grandchildren, 1 great-grandson; In-laws Priscilla and Jack Brower, godson Robert Brower, and numerous nieces and nephews.

He graduated Muskegan, MI, high school, attended Culver Military Academy, and spent 4 years in the Navy. He graduated from the Univ. of Michigan with majors in physics and math. He began his nuclear career at a research reactor on the University campus. He then joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico supervising work of nuclear research reactors. Then becoming involved in firing nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site. Other missions included flying in a scientific aircraft to collect data from a full solar eclipse, aurora borealis, French nuclear tests, and the mapping of earth’s magnetic field lines.

In 1973 he married Sunny and went to work for a reactor design company (EBASCO) in New York City. In 1976 Tom was called by the US Department of Energy in Las Vegas, NV, to lead nuclear explosive safety at the Nevada Test Site. Tom was then assigned as Site Manager of Nevada Operations Eastern Measurements Office located at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, responsible for oversight of aerial radiological background surveys and response to nuclear emergencies on the East Coast and abroad.

Tom retired in 2002 to Crystal River, FL, for 18 years before moving to Lakeview Terrace Retirement Community in Altoona, FL, where he enjoyed living and made many friends. Volunteering was a big part of Tom’s life. He was a Santa Claus during the season for an organization in Las Vegas, NV, that raised money to help provide medical services to children in need. After retiring, Tom became a Guardian ad litem volunteer in Citrus County, FL, advocating in court for abused and neglected children. He also volunteered at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Tom enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing, sailing, camping, traveling, archery, tennis, ping pong, and working on projects in his wood and metal shop. Mostly, Tom said he enjoyed life.

A memorial ceremony will be held Saturday, June 25, 2 pm, in the auditorium at Lakeview Terrace Retirement Community, Altoona, FL. Friends are invited to attend.

Published by Citrus County Chronicle on Jun. 19, 2022.

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