Leyden, Thomas Patrick, 82, of Westport, CT and Westwood, MA, died from complications related to a long-term illness on July 11, 2020.
Known by many as "Big Red," Tom leaves behind an adoring family, including his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Rita Ann (Nuss), and his children, Margaret Mary (Leyden) Holda, of South Easton, MA, Patricia Marie (Leyden) Paul, of South Grafton, MA, and Thomas Patrick Leyden, Jr. and his wife, Nicole (Pezzola), of Westwood, MA. He was cherished by his four granddaughters, Megan Elizabeth Paul, Abigail Marie Paul, Dahlia Anna Leyden, and Olivia Rita Leyden. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Dorothy (Nuss) Finnegan, Ellen (Nuss) Illuzzi and Edna (Nuss) Leyden, and brother-in-law, Hon. Thomas Nuss and his wife, Susan Case Nuss.
He was a treasured uncle, friend, neighbor, coworker and mentor to countless people who appreciated his unwavering commitment to faith, family, tradition, and fun.
Born in Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre, NY on December 21, 1937, Tom was the third and youngest son of Arthur Francis and Margaret (Long) Leyden. He lived with his brothers, Arthur Francis, Jr. and Lawrence Gerard, and his sister, Margaret Mary in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY before moving to Summit, NJ in 1942. He graduated from St. Teresa's School in 1951 and Seton Hall Preparatory School in South Orange, NJ in 1955.
Tom earned a BS in Chemistry from Seton Hall University in 1959. While at Seton Hall, he was involved in many extracurricular activities and was elected to "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities." He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in July, 1959 and immediately went on active duty. After completing his basic training at Fort McClellan, AL, he was stationed at Fort Lee, VA as an Assistant Post Chemical Officer.
Following his military service, Tom joined Union Carbide Corporation's Silicones Division in 1961. He worked with Union Carbide for 32 years, holding a broad range of roles in chemicals and plastics sales, operations, and product and marketing management, as well as in the Corporate Purchasing Department. From October, 1990 until the formation of OSi Specialties in 1993, he was Vice President and General Manager of Union Carbide's silicones business. After DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, L.P. acquired Union Carbide's silicones business in 1993, Tom was elected Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the newly-formed OSi Specialties, Inc. He retired from OSi Specialties on July 31, 1994.
Tom was a devout Roman Catholic and volunteered his time generously, most especially on behalf of the Church of the Assumption in Westport, CT. He served as President and Treasurer of the Assumption Home School Association, was a two-time President of the Parish Advisory Council, and Chairman of the Parish Finance Committee. He served as a Lector for 53 years and occasionally sang in the church choir. He developed and launched the Assumption website in 1997 – the first parish in the Diocese of Bridgeport to go online. He also embodied the spirit of Christmas at holiday Masses and events. In recent years, Tom served as a Parish Trustee, an appointment earned by only the most committed of parishioners. In 2013, Tom was named a recipient of the St. Augustine Medal of Service from the Diocese of Bridgeport, which is awarded to the "unsung heroes," who unselfishly dedicate their time and talents to develop parish communities.
Tom also served as a coach and manager in the PAL Pop Warner Football Organization. He was a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and sang with his father and brother (Arthur F. Sr. and Jr.) in its Glee Club. He was an avid "O" Gauge model train collector and operator and 51-year member of the Train Collector's Association and other collector groups. The ingenious overhead catenary system he engineered for Big Red's Railroad was featured in the 2014 Summer-Fall issue of TCA Magazine.
Throughout their 60+ year relationship, Tom and Rita lived in Fort Lee, VA, Castle Shannon (Pittsburgh), PA, and Meriden, CT before moving to Westport, CT in 1965. The couple loved Hawaii and visited the islands nearly every year for more than three decades. After 54 years in Westport, Tom and Rita relocated to Westwood, MA to live near their children and grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be hosted from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 12 at Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, Westport, CT, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of people allowed inside the Funeral Home at one time. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, August 13, at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Assumption, 98 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT and will be limited to family, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. The funeral mass will also be available for viewing via live-stream online. Further details will be available through the Assumption parish website (https://www.assumptionwestport.org)
In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider making a donation in Tom's honor to a cause that was very dear to him - The Women's Empowerment Scholarship, PO Box 380, Monson, MA 01057. (www.womensempowermentscholarship.org)