Thomas H. "Tom" Cullen
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Thomas H. "Tom" Cullen
Tom was the last of his generation, descended from the Michael and Sarah Harding Cullen (Culhane) family that immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in 1866, settling in Salem, N.H. Tom was born in Haverhill, one of ten children of James William and Albertine (Langevin) Cullen. When Tom was very young, his father passed away, leaving his mother and siblings to endure the hardships of the Great Depression.
Tom was a proud graduate of St. James High School in Haverhill. He was Class President and a member of the varsity football team, earning the nickname of "The Moose". Completing his coursework early, and with his mother's permission, Tom joined the U.S. Navy for the duration of World War II. He was assigned to an LST and took part in the Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He obtained the rank of Radioman Third Class, being awarded the World War II Victory Metal, American Theatre Medal, Good Conduct Metal, and the European African Middle Eastern Theatre Medal (1 Star). Tom returned to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day receiving a commemorative medal. His D-Day experiences at Normandy were featured in a NH Public Television Student Documentary project. Timberlane Regional High School students' project won First Place in the contest and an additional project submitted by Tom's relative Veronica Peterson was a finalist.
For many years, Tom worked as a contractor with his brother Albert, several other contractors and at his own business. In 1964 he was the second employee hired by the newly formed Timberlane Regional School District as Director of Facilities, holding that position until he retired in 1987.
Tom was a past member of St. James Church in Haverhill and Holy Angels Church (St. Luke the Evangelist). He was a friend of the First Baptist Church of Plaistow for many years.
Tom proudly accepted his dual citizenship from Ireland in 2014. It was fitting, as he and his beloved wife Connie visited Ireland many times and he loved sharing songs and stories of the Emerald Isle.
Tom and Connie Cullen will forever be remembered by their extended families, generations of which enjoyed annual summer reunions on the Cullens' hillside, sloping to the brook. Every cousin came to know their other cousins at these famous picnics, all of them captured for the ages in family films and group pictures "on the wall."
Tom loved and was passionately committed to his community and served it in many capacities. He was a Plaistow Selectmen for 15 years, member of the Plaistow Planning Board for 16 years, Plaistow Budget Committee, Southern Rockingham County Planning District Commission for 11 years, Assistant Town Moderator for many years, Honorary Water Commission for the Town of Plaistow, Life Member and Past Commander of the Carl G. Davis Post - American Legion and a Member of the Plaistow Historical Society. He had a special passion for the children of the community, always finding ways to benefit them, including donations for children's projects at the Plaistow Public Library and playing Santa Claus at numerous functions. Tom was inducted into the Timberlane Regional High School Hall of Fame in recognition of his countless hours and dedication in preparing and maintaining all the athletic facilities.
Tom was predeceased by his beloved wife of 52 years, Constance "Connie" (Holmes) Cullen in 2002; brothers, Albert, Edward, Leon, James and sisters Irene, Rita, Yvonne, Loretta, and Elizabeth; sister-in-law Harriet (Holmes) Ingalls and brother-in-law, Paul Holmes.
Survivors include nieces and nephews, Helen Lane, Diane Cullen Burns, Roberta Colleto, Pamela Cambria, James Cullen, Michael Murray, Stephen D'Addario, Vincent D'Addario, George "Chic" Martin, Barbara Toothaker, Theresa DiNuccio, Gail Sanborn, Pennie Ackley, Linda Cleary, Joy Gerrish, Kimberly Southwick, Jill Tresback, Leonard Ingalls, Gary Ingalls, Paul Holmes, Barry Holmes; and Barbara Gagnon, widow of nephew Alfred Gagnon. He was predeceased by niece, Betty Crepeau and nephews Alfred Gagnon, Raymond Gagnon, and Michael Martin. He is also survived by numerous great and great-great-nieces and nephews and their children.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Tom's Calling Hours and Life Celebration to be held on Sunday, March 10, 2019, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Brookside Chapel & Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow, NH. His funeral will begin on Monday, March 11, 2019, at 9 a.m. from the funeral home with a Mass of Christian Burial following at 10 a.m. at Holy Angels Church of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Plaistow, NH. Military Honors by the U. S. Navy will follow. Burial will take place in the spring in Plaistow Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Care Dimensions (Hospice), Ste B-102, 75 Sylvan St., Danvers, MA 01923 or Future In Sight (formerly NH Association for the Blind), 25 Walker St., Concord, NH 03301. For directions or to send a message of condolence to the family, please visit our website at www.brooksidechapelfh.com.
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