CIRCLEVILLE — Thomas Eidson Dorris, age 98, of Circleville, Ohio, and formerly of Greenville, Ohio, passed away peacefully in his sleep at 6:10 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2015. Thomas was born Dec. 4, 1917, in Adairville, Kentucky, to the late Perry and Annie Mae (Eidson) Dorris.
Tom was a World War II veteran who served in the First Engineer’s Special Brigade. He completed four D-Day invasions in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy (Utah Beach) and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. His unit then moved to Germany where he was seriously wounded. He spent six weeks in an Army hospital in Germany until he was able to return to the United States.
Even though Tom wanted to be sent to a VA facility in Nashville, Tennessee, for rehabilitation, he was moved to a VA Hospital in Memphis which specialized in the treatment of traumatic head injuries. He begrudgingly went to a fish fry at a local state park where he met the love of his life, Martha. They married on Jan. 17, 1946. He applied to receive GI benefits to open a small business in Mississippi but was tested and informed that he was going to college instead.
Tom attended Northwest Mississippi Junior College for two years and then enrolled at Mississippi State University. Martha worked at a local shoe store and as a secretary at the university to help Tom get through school. He was an excellent scholar and earned admission to Phi Kappa Phi. He graduated with a BS, summa cum laude, in agricultural engineering in 1951.
After graduation, Tom worked as an agricultural engineer for many years with the John Blue Company of Huntsville, Alabama. He was instrumental in introducing the use of anhydrous ammonia to the Midwestern United States.
In 1955, Tom and Martha left Mississippi to move to Greenville, Ohio with their two daughters, Francy, age 9 and Landa, 1. Tomi came along two years later. Tom would go on the road to sell farm machinery during the week while Martha tended the girls at home. Weekends and summers were spent with his girls.
Tom doted on his daughters and granddaughter. He was very proud of his service in the United States Army and was a nine-time president of the First Engineers Special Brigade Association. In 1994, he received a Liberation of France medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion from the Federation of French War Veterans. He cherished his receipt, in 2009, of the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal, the Army Engineer Association’s highest honor.
Tom was a long-time member of the First United Methodist in Greenville. He was also a member of the American Legion in Greenville.
Tom is survived by daughters and sons-in law, Martha Frances Dorris and Larry Bennen of Delaware, Ohio; Carmen Yolanda “Landa” Dorris and Thomas Patrick Astley of Circleville, Ohio; and Tomi Lynn Dorris of Circleville, Ohio; granddaughter, Erin Elizabeth Dorris-Astley of Cleveland, Ohio; sisters Virginia Fitzgerald of Florida and Ruby Bolt of South Carolina; and scores of “adopted” daughters and sons .
In addition to his parents, Thomas is preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Martha; brothers, James and William Dorris; and sister, Willie Ann Crawford.
A funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday at Zechar Bailey Funeral Home in Greenville with Pastor Angela Meeks officiating. The family will receive friends on Monday from 4:-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Entombment will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in Kingwood Memorial Park in Lewis Center, Ohio, with Pastor Joe Payne officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, Kansas 66675. Condolences for the family may be expressed through www.zecharbailey.com
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