Thomas Roy Jordan was born May 6, 1943 at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas to George Rankin Jordan, and Clara Lee (Wallis) Jordan of Mineral Wells, Texas. On April 24, 2020, after a valiant fight against a worldwide pandemic, he quietly left this world and ran into the overwhelming embrace of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When "Tommy" was a baby the family moved to Breckenridge, Texas. There, he began a lifelong love of baseball as a little leaguer, developed a long passion for music in Mrs. Dean’s Breckenridge Boy Choir, grew his love for craft and Creation with the Cub Scouts, and started his faith journey at First Methodist Church. That journey lasted almost 77 years before he reached his final and forever destination. The life he lived is worth knowing and celebrating. He was a great storyteller and it’s an honor to share his story here.
In the sixth grade, Tommy’s family moved from Breckenridge to Brownwood, Texas. And it was in Brownwood where he would spend most of the rest of his life. He attended South Elementary and Brownwood Junior High. A monumental day occurred when in 6th grade Tommy met a 5th grade girl named Patti Clements at Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) at Central Methodist Church. Their lives as individuals would eventually become one life, together.
At Brownwood High School, Tom played tennis and blew the trumpet in the BHS Marching Band. He also lent his musical talent in the Jazz Band and an ensemble called The Flat Tops. He sang in Miss Mac’s legendary choirs and served as president of both the band and the choir. He and Patti started "going steady" when he was a junior and she was a sophomore and they both began singing in the Chancel Choir at Central Methodist. Lucky for the rest of us, they never stopped singing together.
Tommy graduated with the Brownwood High class of 1961 and many of his classmates remained lifelong friends who he cherished dearly. Soon after graduation he moved to Austin and began his college experience at The University of Texas at Austin. Patti would do the same the following year. While attending classes, Tom worked for the State Comptroller’s office in the basement of the Capitol. He volunteered as a coach for a little league team. He was a student at UT for the 1963 National Championship football season. This set a high bar for the Longhorns for him that they almost never met again. He loved cheering on Texas, even if it was never quite the same.
After a couple of years at The University, his West Texas roots began calling and he transferred to McMurry University in Abilene. The smaller school was just what Tom needed and he flourished - graduating with a BA in Communications and Spanish. He was quite the man on campus too, becoming Sports Editor for the campus newspaper, a delegate to the Model United Nations in St. Louis, and in his Senior year, Class Favorite and Student Body President. He would later serve as president of the McMurry Alumni Association.
At McMurry, he picked up a guitar and began chasing another of his life’s loves; folk music. With friends Lynn Taylor and Joe Stroop, The Old Town Singers picked and sang for audiences big and small. Songs by The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Ian and Sylvia and countless others were part of their repertoire. Songs by such artists would become standards in the future Jordan household and shall remain so until the end of time.
Tom and Patti dated long distance until both had finished college and, as they fell deeper in love, it became clear they were destined to spend their lives together. Tom asked Poochie and Janie Clements for their daughter’s hand in marriage and in no time they were engaged. They were married June 10, 1967 at Central Methodist Church in Brownwood, steps away from where they’d first met. In Abilene, he went to work in the Management Training program for Sears. In the summer of 1969, Janey was born and Tom joyously became "Dad" and he was a natural at being a good and loving father from the get-go.
By the time Julie was born in 1971, Tom and Patti were back in Brownwood where he worked for his father-in-law as manager of Gibson’s Discount Center on the traffic circle. He was President of the Brownwood High School Alumni Association, a member of the Jaycees, and the Brownwood Rotary Club and served on the Brownwood School Board, the Child Welfare Board, and the Advisory Board of the State School. Such service earned him recognition from the esteemed Brownwood Mafia. Working hard for yourself and in the service of others are traits he passed along to his family and we’re proud to carry it forward. Tom and Patti went back to Central Methodist with their young family as active members of the congregation and choir. When Brian was born in 1976, Tom brought a tiny baseball glove to the hospital for him, even though those cherished games of catch were still a few years away.
The passion for music, faith, family, and hard work were learned and shared on the banks of the Pecan Bayou where Tom and Patti built a house from plans they ordered from Southern Living magazine. It was a homestead full of unconditional love, life lessons, good music, and even better food thanks to the massive gardens he planted. Goats, guineas, chickens, dogs, cats, and a horse named "Freckles" were regular parts of the family’s day. The dogs chased rabbits on the bayou, the chickens roosted on the horse’s back, the goats pulled kids in a red wagon. The house flooded multiple times and would be built back each time with surer foundations and prayers. There were bonfires after Lions football games, cookouts and Easter egg hunts with Sunday School classes, scavenger hunts, go-cart races, treehouses, fish to catch and the legendary Christmas sing-a-longs. There was never a dull moment. Ever. And there was never a visitor or friend who didn’t feel like they belonged there.
The store on the circle became a point of personal pride and ownership as a sign for "Jordan’s Home and Garden" was hung. Here he cared for his employees and customers on a personal level that is rarely seen in business. He always took time for others, to share a positive word with someone who was struggling, to help someone to their car with their items, and to tell someone exactly how to plant their garden. Making it in retail may have been a challenge, but for Tom, making someone’s day better never was.
Tom was passionate about his next career working with children, adolescents, and adults through S.O.I. and Bridges Learning. He worked as a teacher at New Horizons Ranch in Goldthwaite where he cared for children in ways that reached far beyond academics. Throughout his life, he also found a home at church. At Central Methodist, he sang in the choir and faithfully shepherded his family through the early years. Later, at First United Methodist Church, he taught Sunday school, directed the youth choir, served on countless committees and volunteer groups, sang in the sanctuary choir and throughout the state of Texas with The Jordan River Jubilee, a cherished group of musical friends.
When Alex was born, "Dad" became "Pop". If he was good at being a dad, he was phenomenal at being a grandfather. Before all was said and done, he would assume the name "Pop" for nine grandchildren. They adored their "Pop" and he more than returned every bit of that love. After they both retired, Tom and Patti moved to Round Rock to be closer to Brian and Julie’s families and they loved their life there together. But of course, Brownwood will always feel like home.
He is survived by: Patti, his loving wife of almost 53 years. It’s hard to imagine a couple more devoted to one another. Tom is also survived by his children and their spouses; daughter, Janey Jordan Smith and husband Bruce, daughter Julie Jordan Langley and husband Anthony, and Brian Clements Jordan and his wife Claire. His grandchildren Alex, Whitney, Carter, Cameron, Lilly, Nihl Thomas, Rankin, Bennett Roy and Wallis. His sisters, Suzzane Jordan Greer, and Jana Jordan Gentry and husband Steve. And his nephews, Tony Gilbrech and wife Carol and David Gilbrech and wife Jill. Sister-in-law Peg Pasquini and husband Steve, brother-in-law Ed Clements and wife Betsy, and brother-in-law John Clements. There are too many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends to count, but each was precious to him and is to us. He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father-in-law, and brother-in-law, Buddy Clements.
The good that Tom Jordan put in the world through his personal touch on the lives of his family, friends, employees, and students is too big to grasp. It will last for centuries as his lessons are not the kind that fade away easily and are too important not to pass along. Having witnessed his kindness, humor, grit, and faith right up until the end - we are certain that the world is a better place having had him in it.
Patti recently found something she’d written long ago. "Tom and I live on the east side of life’s mountain, the side where the sun rises, not the side where it sets. It’s the side to see the new day that is coming. Not the side to see the day that is gone. The best day is the day that is coming – with work to do, with eyes wide open and with the heart grateful." They raised their children and grandchildren in the sunrise. They sang and worshiped there with friends and family. And they laughed and cried there, too. And despite the separation we now face from this man we loved dearly, we know that our best days together are still to come, in the sunrise and eternally so.
The family will have a private, small graveside service at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood. Brian will play his dad’s guitar and they will sing "Amazing Grace" and listen to the Gatlin Brothers’ "Alleluia." They’ll read from Holy Bible and ponder their eventual heavenly reunion. And someday, when life gets back to normal, we will celebrate his life in grand fashion with friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Tom’s love for music by donating in his name to Kids In A New Groove in Austin (kidsinanewgroove.org). They provide instruments, and one-on-one lessons and mentorships for children in foster care. Or honor his love of baseball and give in his name to the Brownwood Freshman League (www.brownwoodbaseball.com) and tell those kids to swing hard, run fast, and love every minute of it.
Condolences, memories and tributes can be offered to the family online at heartlandfuneralhome.net.