Dr. J. Thomas Soliday Sr., 81, of Gettysburg, passed away on Monday, April 12, 2021, at 8:03 a.m., surrounded by his loving family in his home in Fort Myers, Fla., after suffering from Cardiac Amyloidosis.
Born Oct. 8, 1939, in Lancaster, Ohio, he was the son of Junius D. and Mary E. Soliday. He married Bonita Lewis, of Fort Myers, Fla., on June 23, 1963, creating a beautiful marriage of 57 years.
He is survived by his wife; six sons, Keith T. and his wife Brigit, Kevin B., J. Thomas Jr., John D., Michael C., and Mark L. and his wife Marie; 15 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings Carolyn Meakem and her husband Tom, Rebecca Hawes and her husband Ernest, and Theodore Soliday and his wife Cheryl; and predeceased by his sister Jane Gontarski and her husband John.
A 1957 Warwood High School graduate in Wheeling, W.Va., Tom continued his education at the University of Maryland, receiving a degree in dentistry in 1963, and completed his training in oral surgery in 1969 following an internship at Washington Hospital Center, a residency at Andrews Air Force Base, a didactic year at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine, and a residency at Episcopal Hospital. He practiced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for over 40 years in Gaithersburg, Md.
Passionate about his profession, Tom was actively involved in the political side of dentistry, holding many offices at the state level before completing his political career as the Speaker of the House of Delegates for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (1994-2002) and the Speaker of the House of Delegates for the American Dental Association (2002-2012). He was honored to receive the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (2013) and several state and national awards for leadership as well as his mission work in Honduras. He spent 21 years leading a dental mission to Honduras, creating a model still in use today.
Tom affected many people in all aspects of life, setting an example through everything he did. As a natural-born leader, service was the core of who Tom was. He served his profession; his country; his faith through mission; and most importantly, his family as a pillar of strength, integrity, candor, and love.
He enjoyed spending time on the Soliday farm he built with his family, and creating memories with loved ones hunting, fishing, farming, and traveling. Tom added a wonderful dimension to every life he touched.
Tom will be cremated, and a Celebration of Life Service will be held at Gettysburg Presbyterian Church on Oct. 24, 2021. Family, friends, and others whose lives he touched are invited to the service and celebration to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Honduras Mission, https://www.alabarehonduras.com/donate.