Thomas Joseph McMaster was born April 6, 1948 in Johnson City, NY, the second-born son of Arthur W. McMaster, Jr. and Rita V. (Skiffington) McMaster. John and Katharine McMaster came to America in 1720 from County Antrim, Ireland, and settled in Palmer, MA in 1733. Their son James migrated to the colony of New York in 1750, and his six sons all fought for American Independence during the Revolutionary War. Tom’s direct ancestor Capt. David McMaster fought at the Battle of Oriskany on August 6, 1777. Tom’s mother’s family came from County Galway, Ireland in 1868 to work in the coal mines of Scranton, PA. Tom received his early education at The Point School in New Hartford, NY, until the family moved to Camden in January 1959, when his father “Mac” took the position as manager of Oneida National Bank. Tom was a natural athlete and excelled in all neighborhood sports and especially in baseball. He played for Firemen in the Camden Little League, and later played in Camden’s Babe Ruth League. Tom took up golf at an early age, the whole family playing at McConnellsville Golf Course every season until the family relocated to Rome, when his dad was promoted to Assistant Vice-President of the Rome Trust Office of Oneida National in the summer of 1964. In June 1966 Tom graduated from Rome Free Academy and joined the US Army, service in the Army being a family tradition. He was sent to basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, completed AIT in Transportation Corp and then began a tour in Vietnam. Tom was wounded when his unit was attacked during the Tet Offensive in Feb. 1968. In 1969 he married Margaret E. Murphy of Rome, and later that year moved to Syracuse for work. Tom and Margaret had three sons: Douglas born in 1970, Jason in 1974 and Jonathan in 1975. After serving out his service with the Army, Tom went to college on the GI Bill, attending Onondaga Community College where he joined the golf team. He then joined the Rome City Police Force in 1974 and served his community for 10 years as a patrolman and desk sergeant. Tom later worked for Piedmont Airlines. Although Tom was an accomplished golfer, he kept a low profile in the local golfing circuit. The year he won the Annual Rome City Men’s Amateur Golf Tournament in the 1980s, most of the golfers did not know who he was. Tom’s favorite past-times were hunting, fishing, golfing and walking his dogs Sam and later Buddy around Forest Park religiously twice a day. He was an avid sports fan; his favorite teams were the New York Yankees, the New York Giants and the Syracuse Orange. Tom’s other favorite past-time was looking through old family photos.
Tom passed away on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. He is survived by his brother Arthur W. “Art” III and sister-in-law Suzanne (Boulant) McMaster of Greenville, SC; his brother Terry A. of Camillus, NY; his son Douglas Thomas and daughter-in-law Petra (Danzer) McMaster of Bridgeport, NY; his son Jason Christopher and daughter-in-law Celeste (Pottier) McMaster of Charleston, SC; his son Jonathan Edward McMaster of Rochester, NY; his nephew Scott William McMaster of Gainsville, FL; and his niece Kellie Elizabeth McMaster and her husband Christopher Staley of Colorado Springs, CO.
Friends and family can gather for a memorial service at LaRobardiere Funeral Home, 109 Main St., Camden, on Monday, August 10, from 4 to 6 p.m., and eulogies will be spoken at 6 p.m. Internment will be at Evergreen Cemetery, Lee Center, NY, on August 11, at 10 a.m. You may view obituary and send a message of condolence online at www.larobardierefuneralhome.com