OldArchive / Obituaries

Thomas John Veleker, 86,


On Nov. 24, 2011, at 4 a.m., Thomas John Veleker, 86, departed this life. He had been a resident at the Memorial Hospital Personal Care Home in Towanda, PA. He was previously a resident at the Wyalusing Personal Care Home for three years.

Born on Nov. 12, 1925, in Yakima, WA, he was the only child of the late Martin and Mary C. Weiand Veleker. After graduating from high school in Yakima, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1944. He served in the Pacific with the Sixth Marine Division as a rifleman in the Okinawa campaign and after the war was stationed in China for ten months. He was discharged in August 1946 and returned to his hometown.

On May 1, 1947, Tom married Wilma Elizabeth Haywood. While raising a young family, Tom attended Gonzaga University, graduating in 1951 with a Master’s Degree in chemistry. He was soon hired by the GTE Sylvania plant in Towanda, where he worked until retiring in 1986 as Chief Engineer of Materials Analysis, Phosphors and Project Planning. During his 36 years with the company, Tom wrote or co-authored several technical papers on scientific subjects and proudly served on the committee that organized Sylvania’s 25th Anniversary celebration.

Mr. Veleker was active in many local and professional organizations to include veterans groups, the Chemical Society and the Valley RC club. He especially enjoyed flying his radio-controlled model airplanes. During the 1960s, Tom was active with the county Republican Committee and a favorite memory from 1964 involved introducing the actor Clint Walker, who spoke on the courthouse steps in Towanda while campaigning for Barry Goldwater.

Survivors include his sons and their spouses, Robert and Catherine Veleker of Wysox, Gregory Veleker of Towanda, Peter and Regina Veleker of San Diego, CA, Henry and Lorinda Veleker of Waupaca, WI and Alfred Veleker of Towanda and eight grandchildren, Sarah, Philip and Leah in California; Dwight, Clyde and Sylvia in Wisconsin and Eric and Dean Veleker in Rhode Island. In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Wilma Elizabeth Veleker, on Aug. 9, 2007.

Friends called from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home, 217 York Ave., Towanda. Interment was private in Bradford County Memorial Park, Luthers Mills.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Bradford County Historical Society at 109 Pine St., Towanda, PA 18848 or to the Towanda Public Library, 104 Main St., Towanda, PA 18848 in Thomas J. Veleker’s memory.


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