Cover photo for Thomas Towey Vail,'s Obituary
Thomas Towey Vail, Profile Photo
1935 Thomas 2019

Thomas Towey Vail,

December 11, 1935 — June 12, 2019

On June 12, 2019, Thomas (Tom) Towey Vail, Jr., 83, died suddenly in his home in Weslaco, TX. He had been busy preparing to make his annual trip to Michigan, where he spent summers with his family. Tom was born on December 11, 1935, in Minneapolis, MN, son of Thomas Towey Vail, Sr. and Ruth (Lasseigne) Vail. After graduating from Edina High School, he attended the University of Minnesota pursuing a degree in Engineering until he was called for military service. While serving in the United States Army, he was stationed at Fort Sill in Lawton, OK. While off-duty he spent time, as many young men his age in the 1950s "cruising" where he met the love of his life, Shirley, in Chickasha, OK. They married in 1959 and shortly after, returned to his home in Minneapolis and started a family. Tom and his brother, Jim, inherited the family painting contracting business, Vail Brothers, Inc., from their father and uncle. They soon relocated the second generation Vail Brothers, Inc to Atlanta, GA. They were fortunate to have made it quite successful during the construction boom that began there in the late 1960s. After retiring from running his own company at age 51, Tom wasn't quite ready to leave the construction business. For the next 15 years, he managed significant projects across the country for Triad Construction Company. Tom retired in 2002. He and Shirley traveled the country in their RV and even joined an RV club so they would have more friends to travel with. Somewhere along the way, they stumbled on the Rio Grande Valley and in 2004, they moved from Atlanta to Weslaco, but typically made Michigan their summer home. A huge fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, where his youngest daughter, Linda, graduated from college, he adopted the Michigan State Spartans as his other "home team." Tom enjoyed hunting and fishing as a boy and young man with his father, uncle, and brother. He was an avid snow skier for most of his life, and he enjoyed many other hobbies. He loved watching golf and could rarely be torn away from watching any major tournament...especially the final day! He was a voracious reader, he loved to travel and had seen much of the world. In recent years he was able to share his love of travel with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they went on a vacation to Thailand and Greece together. When he wasn't on the go, he was a shrewd bridge player and loved a good game of dominos. He lived a full life with many interests and hobbies, but nothing gave him more joy than his grandchildren. He was fortunate to have spent lots of time with them, taking them camping, fishing, or just playing games or putting together puzzles. He was incredibly proud of the young adults they have become. Tom found even more joy in life when he got to be a great-grandfather. Tom often remarked that he had long hoped to experience the day when his four-Generation picture was taken with him being the elder. Tom is survived by two daughters: Linda Vail of East Lansing, MI, Diane (Jay) Lozier of Marietta, GA; two grandchildren: Corey (Jud) McMichael of Portage, MI, Kyle Goodman of Henderson, NV; two great-grandchildren: Ruby and Hazel McMichael; sister in law, Kathie Vail of Punta Gorda, FL, one niece and one nephew. He was preceded by his parents, his beloved wife of fifty-four years, Shirley, and his brother James Vail. A private celebration of life will take place at a later date.
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