CARBONDALE – Thomas Hayton North Jr., 94, died Sunday, June 21 , in VA Medical Center in Marion.
He was born Dec. 4, 1914, in the Crab Orchard Creek bottoms south of Carterville.
As a youngster, he attended one room North School. Upon graduation he enrolled at Carterville High School where he earned 12 varsity letters in football, basketball, and track. He graduated in 1934 and attended Southern Illinois State Teachers College (later SINU and SIU) where he earned eight varsity letters in football and track for the Maroons. He was selected to the SIU Hall of Fame in 1980. He graduated from SINU in 1938. He taught science at Carterville Junior High and coached baseball and basketball.
In 1940, he became a parole officer for the state reformatory in St. Charles, until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He immediately went to Chicago and joined the U.S. Marine Corps and headed to San Diego for basic training. As a lieutenant in the Marines, he saw action in the early fighting in the South Pacific. As a Marine Raider, he was critically injured on a beach landing at Bougainville in November 1943. For this he was awarded the Purple Heart. He began a long convalescence with numerous surgeries to restore his sight. While in the hospital and recuperating, he corresponded with Alta Marie Woodrow of Veedersburg, Ind. They married April 27, 1944. The couple recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, and she survives. The couple had four sons, Thomas H. North III and Linda (Spears) of Carbondale, Alan H. North and Jo (Dougherty) of Marion, Norman H. North and Debbie (Lord) of Stafford, Va., and Mark H. North and Gayle (Fozard) of Sparta.
Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1945, he returned to Carbondale and started working with the blind. He became the State Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator for the Disabled at SIU. He earned his Master’s degree in 1956 from SIU and retired from the state in 1970. An avid supporter of the Salukis, he rarely missed the maroon and white play at McAndrew. Tom was also a big fan of Terrier sports, and was a school board member for CCHS from 1962 to 1974. In his retirement he enjoyed travel and his daily walks to the Ramada Inn for his afternoon swim and sauna. Tom also jumped back into athletics, participating at the Senior Olympics in Springfield. He later learned to spoil his six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was a devoted member of First Christian Church of Carbondale, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ainad Shriners, Williamson Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rites Bodies, Carbondale Elks, Marine Corps League, Marine Raider Association and Devil Dogs. He will be missed by family, friends, the kind people at the VA in Marion, the bank tellers who knew him as the junk money man, and many folks who knew him as the whistler on Poplar and University streets in Carbondale.
Memorial services will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 2, 2009, in First Christian Church in Carbondale, with Pastor Jerry Dunn officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for a contribution to the SIU Foundation/Saluki Way in memory of Tom North (SIU Foundation attn: Natalie Sutton, SIUC, 1235 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901).