A lifelong resident of Smith County, Thomas Earl Mallory, 89, passed away peacefully Nov. 21, 2013, at The Hospice of East Texas. Tom was born April 1, 1924, on a farm in the Sabine community near Lindale. During World War II
he served in the Eighth Army Air Force in England and, decades later, attended several 486th bomb group reunions, including one this fall. He and wife of 66 years, Betty, were longtime members of Wesley Unit-ed Methodist Church (now Tyler First UMC) and recently have been members of Pollard Unit-ed Methodist Church, where Tom was in the Epworth Class and sang in the Glory Singers choir. He was also a member of the Men's Breakfast group at First Christian Church, a founding member of the Sonrise Prayer Fellowship, and a Mason for 60-plus years.
Wherever he went in Tyler, Tom reliably saw someone he knew. Many knew him as a barber for decades and owner of Tom's Barber Shop. He was also widely known as a western swing musician. Music became his passion as a boy, playing guitar to his dad's fiddle at house parties during the Depression. As a teenager he played guitar and sang with local musicians who later became country legends. In the 1950s he played live shows on KTBB radio to promote Saturday shows at the Mayfair Building where he performed with early country stars.
Music took a back seat to raising a family. After retirement, Tom formed a band, which still plays as the Texas Swingers, in which he played until his recent illness. He was never happier than when on stage. The pinnacle of his musical career came in May when he was inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. In music, family, church and country, Tom Mallory's was a life well lived.
Tom is survived by wife, Betty Ruth Smith Mallory; sons and daughters-in-law, Randy Mallory and Sallie Evans, Tyler, David and Amy Mallory, Raleigh, N.C.; daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Von Johnson, Burbank, Calif.; and exchange student son, Gerhard Frech and wife Gudrun of Stuttgart, Germany.
Visitation is Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home. Services are Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. at Pollard United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. Charles Millikan officiating and special music by the Texas Swingers: G.L. Dean, Ron Sherrod, Dwayne and Mary Ann Meskimen, Johnny and Shirley Goodrich, and Larry Dunn. Private family graveside service is at Sabine Cemetery near Lindale. Pallbearers will be Tom's six beloved grandchildren: Evan Mallory, Elissa Mallory, Stacey Branson, Robert Mallory, Mallory Johnson and Samantha Johnson.
Memorials may be made to Pollard UMC, Sabine Cemetery Association (Box 54, Lindale, 75771), or The Hospice of East Texas Foundation.