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WAKE FOREST — Tom Christos, known by loved ones as Tommy, 61, went home to be with his Lord on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
He was born in Arlington, Virginia, the son of a police officer, the late Nicholas Michael, and hospital nurse, Hilda Zapata Christos. He was also preceded in death by his uncle, John Michael Christos; and grandparents, Michael Nicholas and Katherine Kokkinakis Christos and Eugene and Dolores Torres Zapata.
He grew up in the Westlawn neighborhood of Falls Church, Virginia, and had many fond memories of his childhood and school friends there. He graduated with a B.S. degree in medical technology and M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Delaware in Newark. He worked for 30 years in the field of drug research and discovery in the pharmaceutical industry for Wyeth-Ayerst, DuPont Merck, Eli Lilly and Icagen. Tom’s work resulted in 15 U.S. patents and numerous publications and presentations. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, and reviewer and editor for a number of scientific publications including the Journal of Organic Chemistry. After retirement, Tom became a certified senior advisor and owned an in-home adult care franchise where he loved the friends he made in the clients he served. In most recent years, his company, New Life Furniture Design and Repair, allowed him to utilize his creative side.
Tom was known for his kind and gentle spirit and was a man with many diverse interests, hobbies and talents. He packed a lot into his time on earth (and the house and garage) as he was active as a youth in sports, played on many adult recreational softball teams, was a certified scuba diver, hunter, boater, golfer, fisherman, motorcycle and dirt bike rider, artist, writer, photographer, Cub Scout leader, youth baseball coach and youth Praise band leader, carpenter, home repair man, Chemistry tutor, and dog lover. Tom enjoyed perfecting his recipes for pulled pork barbecue and beef jerky, growing vegetables, attending his kids and grandgirls’ school and sports events, setting up the train set at Christmas and playing the Greek egg cracking game at Easter, camping, travel, military history, and rock ‘n’ roll music. He played the guitar and was a drummer in the high school marching band and church Praise band. He grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church but became a Presbyterian after marriage and served as an elder at Oxford Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania and an elder and deacon at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church (WFPC). He volunteered with mission projects, Habitat for Humanity, portrayed a Wise Man in WFPC’s Walk through Bethlehem for many years, and was active in Sunday school and Bible study with his good friends Tim Tinker and Will Dahmen.
He was especially thankful to Dr. Jorge Obando, Dr. Matthew Kappus and the transplant and oncology teams at Duke University Hospital in Durham and Raleigh, for enabling him to have three more God-given years with his family and friends. He passed at home in the presence of his family after a brief illness.
Tommy is survived by his high school sweetheart and best friend, Sandy Shuman Christos, whom he was married to for 36 years; his children whom he loved deeply, daughter, Alexandra Nicole Wilmoth (“Allie,” her dad called her “Baby”), and husband, Dustin; granddaughters, Naomi Grace and Lillian Mae; and son, Steffen Thomas Christos (“Buddy”), all of Wake Forest; his brother, Michael Christos (whom he loved to laugh with about funny times from their youth), and wife, Shawna, of Chesterfield, Virginia; sister, Cathy Rudd (who went from the brunt of his teasing to his telephone pal), and husband, Randy, of Hamilton, Virginia; aunt, Anastasia Christos Vogel (Phillip) of Hudson, Florida; cousin, Anthony Borra Jr. of St. Augustine, Florida; father-in-law, Donald Shuman of Fort Belvoir, Virginia; sisters-in-law, Deanne Shuman, Marla Boulter (Robert) and Monica Boone (Lewis) as well as all his extended family of beloved nieces, nephews and their children of Virginia.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16
A celebration of life service is planned for a later date at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. Memorial contributions can be made in Tom’s name to the WFPC Christian Life Center’s fund at 12605 Capital Blvd., Wake Forest, NC 27587.
A service of Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main St. Wake Forest, www.brightfunerals.com.