Thomas Charles Lovitt
Thomas Charles Lovitt died on June 25th. He was 82 years old. He was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on September 23, 1930 and grew up in Burrton, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1952, where he majored in music. In that same year he married Althea “Polly” Owen and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. In their four service years they were stationed in Texas, Maryland, and Colorado. When discharged Tom enrolled at the Eastman School of Music. After a few months there he accepted positions as a trumpet player in the Kansas City Philharmonic and trumpet instructor at the Kansas City Conservatory. For two summers, in 1956 and 1957, he was the principal trumpet in the orchestra for the Santa Fe Opera Company. In 1960 he earned a master’s degree in music from the University of Kansas.
In 1962 Tom transitioned from music to special education. He taught for two years in North Kansas City, Missouri and at the University of Kansas Medical Center before receiving his doctorate in special education from the University Kansas in 1966. That year he accepted a position at the University of Washington and remained there until his retirement in 1997. Tom and Polly made many life-long friends among the faculty and students at the university. Through his work in education, Tom touched the lives of countless educators and children. Following his retirement he served as an advocate for neglected or abused children. He also assisted in a first grade class at Frost Elementary, where he was with the same teacher for 11 years. Tom joined the Salvation Army in 2006 and played cornet in their brass band. He loved the organization.
Polly, Tom’s wife of nearly 59 years, died in December 2010. In his last months Tom wrote the story of her life and established a scholarship in her honor at the University of Kansas, where she had graduated.
Tom is survived by his sister Jane (Richard) Lagasse of Conway, Arkansas and four children: Kathleen (Richard) in Tacoma, Mark (Sylvia) in Bothell, Bryan (Maria) in Bothell, and Dan (Beth) in Redmond. Tom and Polly were grandparents to Ashli, Charlie, Carly, Laura, Rachel, and Rebekah and great-grandparents to Tommy, Gracie, Sofia, Arianna, Mikayla, and Lukas.
Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to The Salvation Army Seattle Temple Corps, 9501 Greenwood Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103 or the Polly Lovitt Music Scholarship, KU Endowment, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044.