TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Thomas Walter Potter

September 28, 1937 - December 30, 2020

Thomas Walter Potter went to his eternal rest in the early morning of December 30, 2020. He was born to Harold and Marguerite Potter on September 28, 1937, in West Bend, Wisconsin.

The family moved to Coshocton, Ohio, where Tom left for Ohio State University, Columbus, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1959. He was a proud four-year member of the OSU marching band, playing the tuba and dotting the “i” in Script Ohio and was scheduled to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1958, when an attack of Mononucleosis saw his substitute on the cover instead, a story he loved telling to newly acquired members of family and friends, when appropriately urged to do so.

He worked for one employer his entire career, the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), scrutinizing with a finely pointed pen the contractual accuracy of the corporations producing necessary components of our nuclear submarines, i.e. Babcock and Wilcox in Akron, Ohio, Pratt & Whitney, Hartford, & Electric Boat locally, among others. He retired as a GS 15 and refused advancement to GS 16 in Washington, DC, rather than leaving his family’s forever home in Groton, doing so with their fervent agreement, thanks and pride in his choice. Earlier in his career he went back to school at Western Michigan University earning the degree of Master of Arts, and ultimately passing the CPA exam.

Mr. Potter married the former Lynette Kate Richards of Perrysburg, Ohio, on January 6, 1962, at St. Rose de Lima Church and forevermore she was his ‘Katie’, earning his father-in-law’s lasting affection as it was an unexpected use of his own mother’s name.

Together they raised their children: Elizabeth St. Louis (husband Ron), Todd (wife Alyssa), and Matthew. With unusual fortune their children all reside locally along with their granddaughter Lindsay Potter Wood (husband Geoff) and one great granddaughter Lacey

Elizabeth, really-truly-great thought Tom Potter. Also surviving is Tom’s younger sibling Dennis, nephew Tony and niece Angela of Arizona and his twin’s son Billy of Ohio.

Tom’s twin brother, Bill, predeceased him. Cystic Fibrosis claimed the lives of his twin’s daughters, Amy and Julie, each living into their mid-twenties due to the incredible strength of their parents’ faithful adherence to the latest science of the time.

Tom was a longtime member of the Groton Congregational Church serving on its Board of Trustees, as a Deacon and was the church treasurer for many years.

After Tom’s passing, his brother in-law Ronny Richards of Blue Creek, Ohio posted the following tribute to Tom on Facebook: “He was perhaps among the world’s worst golfers, would laugh and say, ‘oh __’ (expletive deleted) after another miserable shot. He was left-handed and never did get the hang of what to do with an open-faced spinning reel. Great prince of a man gone “we’re sure gonna’ miss him.” Able to laugh at his own later in life sport efforts, he was nevertheless known to have been a wicked left-handed pitcher on his high school baseball team and was a more than able bowler. Tom also did the play-by-play announcement for the Groton Redskins youth football league during the time his son Todd was a participant and was so honest he once reported that Todd was throwing punches over the public address system (another story he loved to repeat with little or no urging, much to Todd’s Chagrin).

A celebration of his life will take place when we can safely gather together in health and thanksgiving for the gift of his life. Please, save your memories and stories for us-his loved ones. We will still need and treasure them.

Byles Funeral Homes, Groton, and the Rev. Lee Ireland of The Groton Congregational Church are assisting his family.

Tom was a member of the marching band from 1955 through 1958. He played Sousaphone in K-Row.