Obituary of Thomas E McKemey
Thomas Edward McKemey passed away on August 15, 2023, surrounded by his loving family at home. He was 83 years old. Tom is survived by his wife, Janice, his children, Loren, Brian, and Michael (Sarah), and his siblings John (the late Delta), Robert, Kathryn, and Donald (Josephine). Tom was predeceased by his parents William and Amelia.
Tom was born on August 25, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He stayed in the Philadelphia area until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963. Serving as a medical evacuation (“Dustoff”) helicopter crew chief, Tom volunteered to deploy to Vietnam in 1965. During his tour, he flew on over 250 medevac missions, and his aircraft was shot down twice as he flew in to save wounded comrades. Among other commendations, Tom earned the Purple Heart and Soldier’s Medal, the U.S. Army’s highest decoration for heroism in a non-combat event.
In 1969, Tom used the G.I. Bill to study at Penn State University, earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. While at Penn State, Tom met the love of his life, Jan Scannell. They married in 1972, beginning over 51 years of marriage together.
Tom began his career as a federal probation officer in 1976. He steadily rose through the ranks, mentoring junior officers and ending his 20-year career as deputy chief of the U.S. Probation Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Tom’s life of service did not end with retirement. He served on Penn State’s Criminal Justice Committee, advising the university on the academic direction of the program. At U.S. Probation Office Christmas parties, Tom played the role of Santa, memorizing what each child wanted as a gift to make the experience seem more “real.” Tom also became the scout leader of his sons’ Boy Scout troop, leading hiking and camping trips, teaching valuable life skills, and serving as a role model for countless young men.
Mechanically gifted, Tom could fix anything; he once restored a 1962 Triumph TR3 sports car that he found in boxes in a Pennsylvania barn. Tom was an avid sports fan, especially of the Philadelphia Eagles and Penn State Nittany Lions. A lover of history, he enjoyed reading about the U.S. Civil War and visiting its battlefields. Tom was a great storyteller, and delighted in recounting his many adventures with his loved ones. Above all, Tom McKemey remained a devoted husband and a loving father.
A celebration of life is to be held in November 2023.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
Fisher House Foundation
12300 Twinbrook Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20852