Thomas Darmo Sr

(Nov 26, 1917 to Mar 14, 2011)

Tom lived an incredible life, with gusto and verve. He was a tough man who loved life, and he embodied the American dream. The son of poor Italian immigrants, he learned the hard work of farming at a very early age. As a young child, he helped build the family home from reclaimed brick and wood. He lived in that home until the time of his death. After his father died, when he was 13, he left his family during the Depression to support himself as a migrant laborer. For a child on his own, it must have been frightening, but Tom spoke of his cross-country experience as an exciting time of riding the rails, of adventure and betrayal. Soon after his return to his family, he married Pearl, the love of his life and partner for over 75 years. She preceded him in death just a few years ago, and he missed her every day. Tom was a veteran of World War II. Though he had just an 8th grade education, he worked his way up to model maker at RCA, where he spent 43 productive years. He held several patents for his work on specialized radars and built the prototype collapsible antenna that went to the moon in 1969 – it is still there. He was proud of his work on the Apollo 17 moon buggy, Rover, and of his innovative and patented wave bender concept. Well into his 90’s, Tom always farmed. He taught and instilled in his children the art of farming the land, and now the Darmo family is well into its fourth generation of farming, with the firth generation actively engaged. He was picking tomatoes with his son and grandchildren last year. While Tom could be a hard man at times, he earned the love and respect of family and friends. He held Christmas at his house for the entire family and was very proud to have done so. His preferred gift was wine. Preferably a year’s supply of jug wine. Tom stayed fiercely independent, driving himself to the race track and casino – where he was known as “Pops” to his friends. He believed gambling kept his mind sharp. He was probably right – Tom was a lover and master handicapper of thoroughbred horse and an accomplished blackjack player. In the end, he came out ahead and was undeniably sharper than many 30 years his junior. He attributed his good health and long life to a healthy diet and his years spent playing table tennis at RCA. “Builds the pump” he always said. A child of the depression with no more than an elementary education, Tom believed in diligence and education. The resumes of his children and grandchildren includes 4 Ivy League graduates, 2 Widener University graduates, 1 Rutgers graduate, 1 College of NJ graduate,2 MBA’s, 1 Masters of Education and a Phd in Biology. If it were not for the emergency surgery to rid his body of colon cancer and the subsequent complications that took his life, Tom would most likely have been with us into his 100s. We will miss his wisdom, experience, charity, great stories, sharp insights and his love of life.rnrnTom is survived by his children Betty Russek (Russ), Thomas Darmo, Jr. (Ludmila), and Ralph Darmo (Sue). He is also survived by his 9 grandchildren and his 14 great-grandchildren.rnCome celebrate 93 full and adventurous years Saturday at 1pm at Sweeney Funeral Home. Service at 2pm. Interment private.rn

One thought on “Thomas Darmo Sr

  1. Gordon Lucas

    I’m sorry for your loss. Tom was a good friend and teacher when I was an apprentice at RCA. I enjoyed working with him.nGordon LucasnPleasant Hill, California

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