J. Thomas “Tom” Lockard ’67, a 19-year member of the administration in the College Relations Division, died Saturday, May 2, 2015, at his home just outside Gambier. He was 70.
Born on March 6, 1945, in Cleveland, Tom grew up in Westlake, Ohio, where he graduated from high school. At the College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in 1967, he was a member of the Kokosingers, a disc jockey for WKCO, and one of Kenyon’s first music majors.
Tom worked as a buyer and manager for several leading Midwestern department stores, including Halle’s, Lowenstein’s and Von Maur, during the 1970s. In 1981, he accepted a position with the Eureka Company, where he rose from field salesman to key accounts representative in the household-equipment manufacturer’s Chicago office.
In 1988, Tom returned to the College as a development officer. As director of campaign special projects, he was a key player in the final days of the $35 million “Campaign for Kenyon,” the largest fundraising effort up to that time. When he retired in 2007 – with another campaign, the $100 million “Claiming Our Place,” under his belt – he was serving as director of capital funds.
Douglas L. Givens, the former vice president for development, hired Tom and worked with him for many years. “When we interviewed Tom for his first job in the development office, all of us knew at once what a great colleague he would be,” he remembered. “Tom met people easily, and he was naturally adept at building relationships. He was a wonderful ambassador for Kenyon and a good friend to many.”
Tom was married to the late Mary Lou Philpott Lockard (1946-2010), a longtime executive assistant to the dean of students. Tom and Mary Lou were the 2002 winners of the College’s William A. Long Award, presented to members of the community who, in the opinion of the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs, have made “an outstanding contribution to developing and clarifying the role of athletic play and competition in the life of the College.”
“Tom, Mary Lou, and Laura Lockard and Laura’s family have been such an important part of our lives here at Kenyon,” said Lisa Schott ’80, managing director of the Philander Chase Corporation and a former colleague in the College Relations Division. “Raconteur extraordinaire, lover of music and esoteric pursuits, Tom was the proudest “Poppy” – grandfather – in the land, finding his greatest joy in his grandsons, Gus and Nash. I will remember Tom most, though, for his generous spirit, his humor, and his unflagging strength and grace in the face of cancer. He was a loyal friend, and my Kenyon will not be the same without him.”
Another friend, Writer-in-Residence P.F. Kluge ’64, recalled, “I first knew Tom as a longtime staffer in the development office, locally famous for his punctuality in coming and going and for the calligraphy in his notes to the alumni he met on the road. There was much more to him, I later discovered. He was a natural storyteller, a good writer with a sharp satirical streak.
“In retirement, he was an 8 a.m. regular for coffee at Middle Ground, later Wiggin Street Coffee,” Kluge said. “He had, I discovered, all sorts of interests: his pen collection, the Lincoln Highway Association, covered bridges. We talked about them all. And we talked of Kenyon, too, its past, present, as well as a future that I'm sorry he won’t be able to share.”
Tom is survived by his daughter, Laura E. Lockard; his son-in-law, Dallas R. Sanders; and grandsons Gus Sanders and Nash Sanders.
A memorial gathering is scheduled for Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m. in Alumni Dining Room on the lower level of Dempsey Hall. The gathering will be followed by a reception at 5:15 p.m., also in the Alumni Dining Room. Those who wish to share a reminiscence of Tom, either at the gathering or in letter form for the family, are asked to contact Lisa Schott at 740-427-5902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.