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Nov. 5, 1950-July 2008

HOUSTON -- In July 2008, our beloved son, nephew, cousin and friend, Thomas Arrington III, 57, of Houston, Texas, passed away following a valiant fight with cancer. "Tommy" was born in Richmond, Va., on Nov. 5, 1950. He attended Washington, D.C. public schools, and at an early age, he was baptized and joined Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Tommy served three years in the U.S. Army and later embarked on a journey to explore his fondness for history and culture. His travels eventually landed him at Texas Southern University (TSU) where, at age 50, he enrolled as a student. As part of his major, he spent two summers in Tanzania, Africa, and loved the people and culture so much that he hoped to one day return and make it his home.

While at TSU, Tommy urged students to have a greater appreciation for the history of the school, so he founded The Society for the Study, Preservation and Dissemination of the History of TSU. He later mobilized a group of students and petitioned the Board of Regents to hold a winter commencement rather than requiring students who had completed their course work to wait until the spring to graduate. Because of his efforts, TSU held its first winter commencement in December 2003, where Tommy graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in history, minoring in African-American studies. In spite of his illness, he had stellar attendance and never missed a class even while going through cancer treatments. At the time of his death, he was working on a graduate degree in history.

Tommy had a passion for life, learning and deep admiration and love for his family. He often attributed his success in life to the guidance, support and words of wisdom given to him by his family. He designed a T-shirt that read "to do the most good, for the greatest number of people, in the shortest amount of time." This is the motto that Tommy lived by and the legacy that he leaves behind.

Tommy was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Arrington Jr., and leaves to cherish his memory his mother, Elizabeth Arrington of Goldsboro, along with a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

In lieu of flowers, you may make donations to the New Spirit Church Ministries, Spririt 5, P.O. Box 225, Goldsboro, NC 27533.

The funeral will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Rhodes Funeral Home in Goldsboro with the Minister Angela E. White, cousin of the deceased, officiating. Per his request, Tommy's ashes will be taken to TSU in Houston, Texas. The family will be receiving friends at the home of Elizabeth Arrington, 421 James White Court, Goldsboro.


Published in Obituaries on August 8, 2008 1:37 PM