After a long, fascinating and wonderful life, Tommy M. Townsend passed away on Sunday, February 16, 2015 at the age of 83. “Big Tommy” was a B.O.I. – born on Galveston Island, Texas on October 22, 1931, the only child of Tom Harry and Roxie Mae Thompson Townsend. Having graduated from Ball High School in 1948, Tommy went on to attend and graduate from Lon Morris College. He was recognized among Distinguished Alumni in 1998. Tommy also attended the University of Houston.
Tommy followed in his Daddy’s footsteps and worked on the Galveston docks as a longshoreman, retiring after 30 years of service in 1980. He also served as a convention delegate and contract negotiator for the ILA. However, those who know Tommy know that his first love was the stage – where he first appeared at the age of 4 on the bandstand in Menard Park in Galveston. Tommy appeared in numerous theatre productions through elementary, junior high, high school and college and went on to work professionally on stages at Galveston Little Theatre, Galveston College and College of the Mainland. Tommy’s acting resume also includes extensive work in commercials, TV and movies, including such films as “Bugsy”, “Toys”, “The Newton Boys”, “And God Created Woman” and, most recently “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”. Tommy was a longtime member of AFTRA/SAG and was a Member Emeritus of the Houston Board.
Tommy was honored and very pleased to be made an honorary member of the Quaker City String Band of the Philadelphia Mummers. He and Cathy spent many enjoyable and memorable hours in Philadelphia and Ireland as well as Galveston with the band.
Tommy is survived by the love of his life—Cathy Conlon Townsend, to whom he has been married for 38 years. He also leaves behind a son, Thomas Dewitt Townsend; a daughter, Donna Townsend Ciaramella; as well as Cathy’s sons, John Rice (Laura) and Tom “Tomcat” Rice (Connie); and daughter, Beverly Rice Foley (Greg); and movie buddy and adopted daughter, Kris Kaufman. He is survived by numerous grandchildren: Tommy Ray Townsend, Angela Townsend Luno, Joseph Allen Gillam, Joshua David Gillam, Michael Rice, Lucy Rice, Emma Rice, James Rice, Erica Edgerly and Alonzo Peralez (Alexis). Surviving great grandchildren include: Tom Haven Townsend, Eric Townsend, Kolt Martin, Gunnar Townsend, Braylon David Gillam and Aideen Peralez.
Visitation will be Friday, February 20th, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home, 3028 Broadway. A rosary will begin at 7:00 pm. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, February 21st, at 10:00 am at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 34th and Avenue K.
Honorary pallbearers will be Kris Kaufman, Jimmy Sanderson, Gene Lossow, Willie Gonzalez, Sonny Opiela, Mike Mickey, Jerry Hurt, John E. Rice, and James (Huff) Hufnagle.
The family wishes to thank the following for their professional and very loving care: UTMB, Mainland Medical Center, The Rio, Cornerstone Hospital of Houston, and especially Dr. Viola Anderson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Quaker City String Band (QCSB) Building Fund or Galveston Island Tree Conservancy, both: P.O. Box 2123, Galveston, TX 77553.