PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — John P. Thomis Jr., 78, of Portsmouth, RI passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer.
Born on April 23rd, 1941 in Jersey City, NJ, John was the son of the late John P. Tomis Sr. and Helen (Bogucki) Tomis. John lived in Fairlawn, NJ prior to his family relocating to Northampton, MA. He was educated in the Northampton school system, received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Western New England College and furthered his studies at Northeastern University and the University of Rhode Island.
John began his career at Westerly Tool and Dye in Westerly, RI as a Design Engineer for plastic injection molding, primarily for the toy industry (and predominantly for Milton Bradley, which included popular games of “Jeopardy,” and “Life”). He then joined General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT as a Weapons Systems Project Engineer. John was a specialist for Missile Compartment Compression and Hydraulics as well for Fire Control Line of Site, which is used for missile alignment. He also developed Digital Depth Control Systems and was a member of The Sea Trial Team.
In 1967, John joined Raytheon Submarine Signal Division in Portsmouth, RI, where he had a long and successful career, retiring in December 2001. During his tenure, he advanced from Engineer to Senior Advanced Program Manager. He managed development of Submarine Combat Systems Hardware for over 22 years. John’s team developed the first colored display console for Navy submarines, which was featured in the film, “The Hunt for Red October.”
John’s life was rich in friendships and with many pastimes and interests. He was a long-time member of the Wanumetonomy Golf Club, past president of the Middletown RI Rotary, and a long-time Rotarian. John was one of the original coaches for the newly established Newport Youth Hockey Association. He enjoyed and supported his sons’ participation in youth sports and was a devoted New England sports fan. He was an avid fly fisherman (particularly fishing trips to The Big Horn River and Yellowstone National Park), a lifetime model railroader building extensive and impressive model layouts, an avid reader, as well as an avid skier while he also served as a ski instructor at Mt. Tom Ski Resort in Holyoke, MA. John loved music, he could be heard playing anything classical on the piano and guitar. He loved sailing, particular throughout the West Indies, among other activities such as painting, spending time at the condo in New Hampshire and relaxing and fishing in Naples, Florida. Above all else, John loved spending every cherished moment with his close friends and family.
John will eternally be remembered for his unwavering love, support of his family, his warm and outgoing personality, his keen intellect and integrity, to name a few of several ways to describe and appreciate him. John had left a remarkable legacy, one that will live on forever in the hearts and minds of all of his loved family and friends.
He is survived by his beloved and devoted wife and soulmate of 56 years, Margaret E. (Kaminski) Tomis, his two loving sons, John Tate Tomis and his wife Susan of Preston, CT., and Mark Tyson Tomis and his wife Karin of Portsmouth, RI. John also leaves behind his cherished grandchildren, Sara, Ryan, and Jonathan Tomis, Cassidy and Delaney Maguire; his nephews, Drew Tomis, his wife Tanya, and their baby Mara of Hadley, NY and Josh Tomis and his wife Roz of Queensbury, NY. John is also survived by his cousins Suzen Cripps of Stonington, CT., and Jane Levi and her husband Lloyd of Millerton, NY; along with his brother-in-law David Kaminski, his sisters-in-law, Louise Ansanitis and her husband, Steven and Nancy Kaminski, all from Massachusetts. Besides his parents, John is predeceased by his brother Robert and sister-in-law MaryAnn Tomis.
The family would like to express their deepest appreciation to John’s physicians and to the nurses and staff at Newport Hospital and Hospice for their dedication, compassion, and thoughtful care during the time of his illness. In addition, heartfelt gratitude is extended to his neighbors, friends, and many relatives who have been so generous with their love and constant support.
Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, August 27th from 4:30 to 7:00pm at Connors Funeral Home at 55 West Main Rd, Portsmouth, RI. Funeral services will begin on Wednesday, August 28th at 9:00am at Connors Funeral Home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00am in St. Barnabas Church, 1697 East Main Rd, Portsmouth, RI. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in John’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, Centralized Memorial Processing Center at 30 Speen St, Framingham, MA 01701.