WINSLOW — Commander Thomas David Cockcroft passed away Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, at the Togus VA, in a room filled with hearts who loved him completely.

Born Feb 2, 1943, in Everett, Mass., (while visiting by mistake) to Pauline D. (Johnson) and Calvin Cockcroft of Presque Isle.

Tom was many things in his journey through life… An unwavering, honorable man, he carried his ragged, handwritten poem “Man In the Glass,” by Dale Wimbrow in his wallet. He was a devoted patriot, standing always for his flag, a Steller Naval Officer, decorated veteran, PGA golf instructor, artist and Christmas curmudgeon.

His humor ever present, he was a thoughtful, dear, devoted and present husband often with a flower in hand or a loving note.

Growing up in Presque Isle, forever a “county boy,” a natural athlete, yet humble & proud of his contribution as a starting team member of the Eastern Maine Basketball champs in 1961 coached by Dana Hews. Tom was scouted by legendary Boston Red Socks coach Whitey Hertzog, & several other major league teams while at Presque Isle High School.

Tom graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Murray State College, Ky., before entering the Navy, officer candidate school and head long into naval aviation at NAS Pensacola, Fla. He served aboard the Aircraft Carrier “America” during the Vietnam conflict. The P-3 Orion was his aircraft, surveillance his specialty. As Commander, he served two tours in Alaska.

Off duty, he seized every opportunity to play basketball, hunt, hike, fish… often asked to guide VIPs through the Alaska Aleutian Island of Adak.

Tom retired to Maine in 1988 after a 24 year career, his last command at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. He was excited to venture into a long sought after business, eyes wide open, savvy and trusting of his longtime “friend,” he quickly realized he was completely duped in the sale by a little old lady and a small town lawyer.

Golf was his passion and dream job, having golfed all around the world: Spain, Portugal and Hawai’i. Retiring with a two handicap. Lifetime golf highlights included a trip to the Masters, serving as a Marshall at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and at TPC Sawgrass, but mostly playing with friends.

A move back to Pensacola in 1991, he earned his PGA card, he attended Rutgers University Golf Agronomy Superintendents School to help bridge the pull and tug between the Grounds Superintendent and the Golf Pro. Tom relished his successful golf career that also created lifelong friendships that began in 1995, with John Jacobs Golf Schools after a year teaching at Lajes AFB, Terceira Island Azores.

Tom was over the moon when Jacobs sent his best friend to Tom for guidance with his game. He taught in Hilton Head, S.C., Las Vegas, Nev., Scottsdale, Ariz., Naples and Pensacola, Fla., also teaching in Alabama and Maine.

Tom was Director of Golf and Head Pro as well as creating his own successful golf schools at several locations with a large following. Four recorded holes in one and one unrecorded, yet witnessed. Thomas also proudly played an instrumental part in building a new club house while at NAS, Pensacola.

This life was a life well lived, filled with dreams met, love, laughter to tears, numerous road trips across American filled with music, picnics, favorite restaurants that welcomed us back, taking the roads less traveled, golfing in every state we could manage together and tried out every ice cream stand from Maine to California. He appreciated the beauty of his own country.

Often called “The Duke,” he would just acknowledge with that crooked smile, sparkling blue eyes and move on. Thomas D. Cockcroft was an extremely kind, sweet, handsome man that made the sun shine on a rainy day.

As devastating as it is to let go, others await. Tom passed on to meet the threesome warming up on the driving range ready to play on… Larry Hadley, Terry Alsup and Lollie Florez. Yes, Lollie, as promised he is bringing the honey for the sopapillas at the 19th hole.

He was predeceased by his parents; dear Aunt and Uncle Mona and John Bickers; and beloved dog Tonk and Hannah, our well traveled feline.

Survived and enriched each day of our marriage, are his wife Rebecca Barton Cockcroft, when asked how long we were married, his response? “Not nearly long enough.”

Surviving also is his loving sister Cheryl J. Cockcroft of Camden, S.C., and son Chad D. Cockcroft of Connecticut. Tom always followed his son’s journey, carrying a photo in his wallet to the very end.

Also surviving is mother-in-law Mary Hendrick Dearborn of Camden; sisters-in-law Mrs. Andrea (Rob) Lovell of Rockport, who made the best strawberry rhubarb pie especially for him, and Sherry Ladd of Warren who loved his hugs; two very special nieces Whitney Trelour and Berkeley Turner; two cousins Karlee Bickers (Jay) McKenzie and Kristie Bickers Stephenson; as well as many friends he cherished along the pathway of his life, from High School to Golf Schools.

Yes Commander, you have your Liberty Card…

Arrangements are entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Rd., Windsor, Maine. Condolences, stories and photos may be shared by visiting plummerfh.com.