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PAXTON — Thomas Richard Coady Jr., 87, of Marco Island, Fla., formerly of Paxton, passed away Wednesday (June 30, 2021) at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, Urbana.

Baier Family Funeral Services, Paxton, is handling arrangements. A celebration of life will be held on July 10 at Hicks Motor Sales, 106 N. State Route 54, Roberts, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tom was born Jan. 22, 1934, in Pepperell, Mass., to Irene and Thomas Coady Sr. He married his loving wife, Wanda Hicks of Roberts, on July 25, 1956, and she survives.  

After earning a BBA from the University of Miami (Florida), Tom entered Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. His first duty assignment was in Puerto Rico, where he was a specialist in the classified Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) for undersea detection of submarines during the Cold War. He also worked jointly with NACA, now NASA, implementing the SOSUS technology to accurately locate the splashdown sites of the early space capsules.

After his Navy commitment, he earned an MBA from SIU, a commercial pilot license with instrument and multi-engine ratings, and was an executive for the Hicks enterprises in Roberts for 45 years. During retirement, he indulged his passion for golfing and collecting classic sports cars. He owned numerous show-winning automobiles displayed at concourse events, including Pebble Beach, Greenwich, Meadowbrook and Amelia Island. He also enjoyed traveling the globe and authoring entertaining books of fiction.

He is survived by his sons, Todd (MaryBeth) of Tulsa, Okla., and Shawn (Robin) of Naples, Fla.; daughter, Tamis (Kevin) Bright of El Paso, Texas; seven grandchildren, Ryan and Megan Coady, Tara and Colleen Coady and Jackie, Valerie and Ian Bright; and his sister, Lillian Smith of Farmington, Conn.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Pauline Goodwin.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be directed to the National Propane Gas Foundation Scholarship Fund, which benefits children of individuals in the propane industry, or a charity of your choice.

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