Tommy Lee Monroe, 87, died Wednesday, January 22, 2020.
Tom was born November 10, 1932, in Quanah, Texas, to Robert and Clarene McCullough Monroe. He graduated from Quanah High School in 1950. He attended West Texas State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1956, and a Master of Education in 1964.
While an undergraduate student at WT, Tom met the love of his life, Carol Duncan, of Canyon, TX. They were married on August 21, 1953, and they celebrated 66 anniversaries together. Carol preceded Tom in death on December 18, 2019.
Two months after he and Carol were married, Tom was inducted into the United States Army, where he served proudly and honorably for two years. The couple was stationed in Seattle, WA, when their first child, Mike, was born. After Tom’s discharge from active military service in 1955, the family returned to Canyon, where Tom finished his undergraduate degree.
Tom was a teacher by profession, and he loved young people with a passion. He began his teaching career in 1956 at Canadian High School, teaching speech, English, and drama. It was during this time that their second child, Janet, was born.
After three years of teaching, Tom decided to try his hand in the business world. The family moved to Amarillo, where Tom accepted a position in the training division of Phillips Petroleum. Although he was successful in this venture, as well as in brief stints in insurance and farm equipment sales, his heart kept calling him back to the classroom. In 1962, he accepted a position teaching speech and drama at Travis Jr. High School (now Travis Middle School), and remained there for the rest of his career. Over the years Tom had several offers to move up to high school and administrative positions, but he preferred to remain at the junior high level, helping his students to navigate the turbulent waters of early adolescence.
Tom always had a soft spot in his heart for the insecure, the underprivileged and the “underdog.” During his years at Travis Jr. High, his speech and drama classes helped hundreds of shy and insecure young people to discover talents they never knew they had, and to express themselves with poise and confidence. He delighted in helping to secure suits and dresses for students from lower income families so they could attend school dances and other special events with dignity and pride.
Tom was a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ, and his love for young people also found expression in his involvement with his church. For several years during the late 60’s and early 70’s he served part-time as education director and youth minister at the North Amarillo Church of Christ. Later on, he taught youth and young adult classes at the Central Church of Christ.
Tom was also a consummate family man. Besides being a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he delighted in his relationships with his extended family. Having married into a family of nine children, he liked to joke that he was a “professional brother-in-law.” Between his own and Carol’s family, Tom had 32 nieces and nephews, and they all dearly loved Uncle Tom.
Over the course of his life, Tom officiated at more than 40 weddings of family members, former students, and members of church Bible classes and youth groups. And his life, love, and exemplary character left an indelible impression for good on the hearts of countless others.
In addition to his wife, Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Clarene Monroe; one sister, Dee Thurston; one nephew, Howard Taylor; and one great-nephew, Weston Mannin.
Tom is survived by his son, Mike Monroe and wife, Janet, of Arlington, TX; his daughter, Janet Mitts of Dallas; one sister, Mona Taylor, and husband, Robert, of Georgetown; grandchildren, Bryan Monroe and wife, Amber, of Arlington, TX, Brooke Nobles and husband, Charles, of Abilene, TX, and Brandon Monroe and wife, Emily, of College Station; six great-grandchildren, Ryder Monroe, Asher Monroe, Magdalene Monroe, Landry Nobles, Paisley Nobles, and Austin Nobles; and a host of nephews and nieces, along with their spouses and children.
Memorial services will be at 1:00 P.M., Saturday, February 1, at Central Church of Christ in Amarillo with Glen Walton and Allan Stanglin officiating.
Memorials may be sent to Christian Relief Fund, P.O. Box 79670, Amarillo, TX 79114-1670; or
High Plains Children’s Home, 11461 S. Western St., Amarillo, TX 79118.