Thomas W. H. Phelps

Thomas W. H. Phelps

Died September 9, 2008

According to his obituary in the Brunswick News, Tom spent much of his life with his family, working and traveling in the Middle East and Central America, embracing different cultures.

Son of Ward Phelps, Y’27, Tom prepared for Yale at Philips Academy, resided in Branford and majored in American studies. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi and St. Elmo’s.

Tom passed away on September 9, 2008 in Brunswick, GA, survived by his wife of 41 years, Penny, two sons, Nicholas and Christopher, a brother, John, and sister, Julie.

Malcolm Rogers remembers:
Whenever I think of Tom, I am reminded of the pleasure he took in life, in his family and friends, in the creation of new enterprises, in finding humor in so many things, in discovering unique creations of the human hand and enjoying the beauty of coastal Georgia. Tom also loved music. He played bass with the Invictas to very enthusiastic audiences at Andover on Saturday nights, and continued playing music at Yale in the Dukanes, a popular R&B group that played east coast colleges from Princeton to Dartmouth.

After Yale Tom went to work as a teacher for an international school in Kuwait where he met his lovely English-born wife, Penny. He also had a later stint in the Peace Corps in Kuwait. After graduating from Harvard Business School, he worked for a period of time helping Kuwaiti colleagues with investments in the United States. As Penny’s fascination with Guatemalan textiles grew, Tom joined her in creating a wonderful store (Carmen’s Veranda) in Sudbury that sold many artifacts and textiles from Guatemala and other parts of Central America. The store was full of charm and playfulness like its owners. It was also full of truly beautiful objects that they both enjoyed sharing with the larger world.

After their two sons, Nick and Christopher, had grown up and developed interesting lives and careers of their own, Tom and Penny decided to move to Brunswick, GA, where Tom had a brother and where he had spent many vacations with his parents. It was also warmer and closer to Guatemala. Tom quickly became a fixture in the town and worked to restore an elegant home in an historic neighborhood, much to the delight of his neighbors. When I last saw Tom in Brunswick, he was full of fun and a tireless host, despite the fact that he had undergone extensive treatment for kidney cancer. I can still hear his laughter and feel his pleasure in learning and sharing new stories. He was a wonderful person and I will always miss him.

Robert Leich remembers:
I remember Tom from his participation in “ The Dukanes” the great R&R band he played in with his good friends and co-founders, Jim Payne and Ken Roberts. They hired some local gals as singers and were really quite good, playing at several fraternity and college events. About two years ago when we were first making plans for the 50th Reunion I broached the idea of getting “The Dukanes” back together to play for us. That’s when I learned that Tom was gone, so now we’ll be forced to be content with those great memories.