Former State Representative Thomas M. Tigue, Colonel USMC, Retired, 70, of Hughestown, passed away Monday, February 1, 2016. His wife Dianne Walsh Tigue preceded him in death on August 24, 2015.
Born in Pittston on August 24, 1945, he was the son of the late Michael and Joan Walsh Tigue. He was a 1964 graduate of St. John the Evangelist High School and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from King’s College in 1968 and attended Marywood College for graduate courses. He received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from King’s College in 1999. He was also a past Legislative Fellow at East Stroudsburg University.
He was commissioned as a United States Marine Corps Officer in 1968. As a Second Lieutenant serving as an Infantry Platoon Commander during the Vietnam conflict, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action for “his courage, superb leadership and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk.” In addition to the Silver Star, he was awarded a Navy Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Naval Defense Medal. Upon completion of his full-time duty, he served in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1995, retiring as a Colonel. In 1991, he was activated for duty during Operation Desert Storm. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Hall of Fame in 2007.
Following his return from Vietnam, he worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as a Youth Development Counselor at Youth Forestry Camp 2 at Hickory Run State Park. He then worked as a computer program analyst for Metropolitan Life Insurance prior to becoming the business manager for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority.
He was elected to the Pittston Area School Board in 1977 and served as school director and member of the Wilkes-Barre Vo-Tech Board until his election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1980 where he served the 118th legislative district covering portions of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Monroe Counties. While in Harrisburg, his primary focus was on education issues, as well as standing up for working families, senior citizens and veterans. During his 26 year tenure, he served as Democratic Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee where he was instrumental in establishing the Military Family Relief Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance in the form of grants to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their family members who have an immediate financial need as a result of military service. He also authored legislation giving the Governor authority to call members of the National Guard to state active duty in the event of emergencies in other states. In addition to his legislative accomplishments, he always remained most committed to helping his constituents and assisting the communities in his district, notably through efforts such as securing funds to replace the dam at Brady’s Lake.
Following his retirement from the state House in 2006, he became Managing Director of the Delaware River Maritime Enterprise Council (DRMEC). He was elected as committeeman for the Luzerne County Democratic Committee. He also served as co-chairman for the Pittston Memorial Library Capital Campaign, board member for Common Cause Pennsylvania and was a member of the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board.
In addition to his professional service to country and state, he was a member of numerous community, social and volunteer groups including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Marine Corps League, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, John F. Kennedy Council 372 Knights of Columbus and the West Side Social Club.
He was a member of Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, Pittston and served on the Parish Pastoral Council at the former Blessed Sacrament Church. He was a volunteer at Holy Rosary School, Duryea and the former St. Mary the Assumption School, Pittston.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Kevin Tigue.
Surviving are his children, Thomas Tigue Jr., Hughestown, Tracy and her husband, Andy Ashby, Jenkins Township, Kristin and her husband, Chris Lazevnick, Yatesville, and Colleen and her husband, Steve DeFrank, Harrisburg; grandchildren, Eastin, Madison, Taryn and Ashton Ashby, Trevor and Kendall Tigue, Rowan Lazevnick, Brynn and Paige DeFrank; sister Mariclaire and her husband, Bob Jones, Wyoming; brother Michael Tigue and his wife, Cathy, Hughestown; sister-in-law Janet Tigue, Hughestown; brother-in-law Patrick Walsh, Hughestown; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 9:30am in Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, 535 North Main Street, Pittston. Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Assumption Cemetery, Rock Street, Hughestown. Friends may call Friday, February 5, 2016 from 4pm – 8pm in Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Pittston Memorial Library, 47 Broad Street, Pittston, PA 18640 and Care and Concern Ministries, 37 William Street, Pittston, PA 18640. Arrangements are entrusted to the Peter J. Adonizio Funeral Home, 251 William Street, Pittston.