Thomas Francis Begley Jr.

Thomas Francis Begley Jr., age 77, of East Harwich passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 10, 2022.

Tom was born on September 17, 1944 to Phyllis (Bodman) Begley and Thomas Francis (“Frank”) Begley at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado. With his parents, his beloved grandmother, Irene, and his trusty sidekick, Arthur the beagle, Tom split his youth between Denver and Fremont, Ohio.
    After graduating from North Denver High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder, Tom moved to San Francisco. Appropriately, he lived there during the Summer of Love and that’s where he met and fell in love with his wife of 54 years, Cornelia Rose (Jandris) Begley (“Connie”). With his short haircut, horn-rimmed glasses, and preppy style—a look he never strayed from—Tom was far from a hippie. Instead, he was bound for the U.S. Air Force.
Together, the couple moved to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, where Tom had top-secret clearance as a photo intelligence officer, making maps for the Vietnam War—an early and highly classified use of satellite imagery. Tom was promoted to Air Force Captain and was proud of having served his country.
After the Air Force, Tom worked in positions of increasing responsibility at food companies like Campbell Soup Co., Heublein, and ConAgra, living in Massachusetts, Texas and Minnesota. In Wisconsin, he was Division Vice President - Sales at Rayovac Corporation, helping the company become the top-selling hearing aid battery brand. At Rayovac, Tom traveled all over the world, including trips to help fit children with hearing aids and give them the gift of hearing. In 2008, Tom and Connie moved to Cape Cod, where he proudly spent two years as Commander of the Cape Cod Sail & Power Squadron (now known as America’s Boating Club Cape Cod).
Tom packed everything he could into his 77 years and told his family that he was leaving this earth with no regrets. He always had a warm smile on his face and with his incredible wit, he delighted in teasing people. His favorite saying when someone misplaced something: “It’s not my day to watch it!” Former colleagues praised Tom for being a mentor, a friend, and a true professional. Tom loved traveling and eating at good restaurants. Coca-Cola was Tom’s drink of choice. His mother started him on the habit when he was a toddler at a drugstore in Denver—and he would be annoyed if a restaurant had only Pepsi products. Tom was an avid history buff and loved tracing his family lineage. He came from a long line of men named Thomas Begley—dating back to the 1800s—and his great-grandfather, Albert Bodman, was a Civil War reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Tom picked up boating later in life. He got a kick out of telling how his wife said, “Over my dead body,” when he first suggested buying a boat. Luckily, that didn’t happen. They bought the Sea Rose and spent their free time navigating Pleasant Bay in Cape Cod.
Above all else, Tom was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. In addition to his wife, Connie, he is survived by his children, Laura Begley Bloom (married to Jonathan Bloom) and Thomas Francis Begley III (married to Kathleen Ku), his two cherished grandchildren, Virginia Rose Ku Begley and Lucy Rose Bloom, and his granddog, Leader (“Lee”).
Tom wished to thank his neuro-oncology team at Mass General, where he was in two research trials since being diagnosed with glioblastoma in July 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Thomas Begley to the Massachusetts General Hospital for the benefit of research efforts in neuro-oncology. Checks can be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital” with a memo line to read “Dr. Elizabeth Gerstner” and mailed to: Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office, Attn: Heidi Bergmeyer, 125 Nashua Street, Suite 540, Boston, MA 02114.
A visitation will be held on Friday April 29 from 4-7 p.m. at the Nickerson Funeral Home (87 Crowell Road, Chatham, MA). A funeral will be held on Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m. at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church (625 Main Street, Chatham, MA) with a luncheon to follow. He will be laid to rest with a military burial on Monday, May 2 at 10:45 a.m. at the Massachusetts National Cemetery (Connery Avenue, Bourne, MA).
Please raise a glass of Coca-Cola in honor of Tom Begley and toast a life very well lived. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com.