Charles Thomas “Tommy” Tate, Sr., of Blacksburg, died peacefully at Roanoke Memorial Hospital on July 30, 2020, as a result of a traumatic neck injury.
Tommy was born Aug. 20, 1925, in Mullins, W.Va. to Charles V. and Edith M. Tate. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Frances S. Tate,a daughter Charlotte Tate Burgess, sons Charles Thomas Tate II (Nancy) and James Edgar Tate; grandchildren Amy B.McKinney (Ryan), Megan K. Tate (Salman), Charles T. Tate III (Dorcas); two great-grandchildren, Christian Gutierrez Tate and Charles Thomas-Joseph Tate; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by three great-grandchildren, Emma Grace, Joshua Ryan and Landon McKinney.
Tommy was a lifelong resident of Blacksburg. He served in the 20th US Army Air Corps in WWII as a gunner on a B-29, flying 21 missions over Tokyo. He was the recipient of the Bronze Star.
He graduated from Virginia Tech after the war with a degree in business administration and was co-owner /manager of Hardie’s Esso. Tommy left the Esso station to act as assistant director of the Cooperative Education program at Virginia Tech.
Upon his retirement, Tommy began working at Heavener’s Hardware, where he worked until he was two weeks shy of his 91st birthday. Until the day he died, he regretted not being able to continue working.
Tommy was a member of the Blacksburg United Methodist Church, one of the founding members of the Blacksburg First Aid Squad, and served with the Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
He had a kind and cheerful spirit, loved his family, his friends and his dogs dearly. He never met a stranger and was known to feed the stray cats behind Heavener’s in the mornings before work. He enjoyed his gin and tonics, cigars, telling good jokes and cutting a mean rug with his bride to Big Band music. He is dearly loved and will be greatly missed
A graveside service was held at Westview Cemetery in Blacksburg on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at 11 a.m. The Rev. Scott Obenchain officiated. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Montgomery County Animal Shelter or the Va. Tech School of Veterinary Science. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.