William Thomas “Tom” Haywood, Jr. (78)

Grayville, Illinois
Birth: April 27, 1945
Death: January 24, 2024

William Thomas Haywood, Jr, a veteran of the Vietnam War and longtime resident of Grayville, IL, passed away on January 24, 2024. Tom, as he was known to many in the area, was born on April 27, 1945 to Tom and Margaret (Whitehead) Haywood and graduated from Grayville High School before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1963. In the Air Force, he served as a jet engine mechanic until 1967. During his Air Force career, he received several awards and citations and was nominated for Airmen of the Year in 1966.

After the war, Tom returned home and married Marsha Mills on August 20, 1969. He worked as a maintenance cable splicer for General Telephone Electronics (GTE). In his free time, he enjoyed coaching youth baseball and completing numerous home improvement projects. Tom retired from GTE in 2002 after 30 years of dedicated service.

Again, feeling the call to serve, Tom continued his military service by enlisting in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1986. He was a proud member of Company C, 133rd Signal Battalion in Carbondale, IL where he served as a Telecommunication Operations Chief. During his service in the National Guard, Tom enjoyed his time mentoring and training other soldiers the most. His military awards included the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. Tom served with distinction for over 16 years in the National Guard culminating in his retirement as a Sergeant First Class in 2013.

Following his retirement from the National Guard, Tom moved with Marsha to Gulf Breeze, FL, then to Anna, TX. During his retirement he enjoyed assisting fellow veterans understand the benefits available to them from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, along with piddling in the garage, watching old military and western programs on television, and rooting for his beloved Texas Rangers Baseball team.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents and granddaughter (Meagan). He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marsha, his two sons David (Yuri) and Jeff (Katheryn), 4 grandchildren (Christopher, Rebecca, Dylan, and Anabella), 2 great grandchildren (Landyn and Greenlee), his brothers Terry (Wanda), Tony, and Tracy (Debbie), and sister Merry.

His family has organized a celebration service to honor Tom’s life and military service, which will be held at the Cook Funeral Chapel in Grayville, IL on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, his family respectfully asks that you consider a charitable donation to the Wounded Warrior Project https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/) or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude).

Visitation: Cook Funeral Chapel, Grayville, Illinois - Saturday, April 27, 2024 - 10am to 12 noon
Service: Oak Grove Cemetery, Grayville, Illinois - with Military Rites following visitation at Cook Funeral Chapel
Burial: Oak Grove Cemetery, Grayville, Illinois - with Military Rites
Memorials: Wounded Warrior Project (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/) or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude).

2 thoughts on “William Thomas “Tom” Haywood, Jr.”

  1. What a great leader of young men. He always held his guys to a higher standard. We didnt think we loved him then, but there was no doubt we love him now. The world is a lesser place without him. RIP Coach.

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