In Memoriam: Campus Safety Officer Thomas W. Bates

Campus Safety Officer Thomas W. “Tom” Bates died peacefully at his home in Wilmot on Saturday, May 27, after a months-long experience with cancer.

Tom joined Colby-Sawyer in May 2012. In his five years at the college, he became part of the community in the most extraordinary way. One of Tom’s greatest joys was seizing and celebrating the blessings in life, small and large, and he did so with an expansive heart, generous spirit and gentle strength that reached every corner of campus.

Earlier this month, Tom was recognized with the 2017 Judith Pond Condict ’62 Award for Excellence in Service Award, which is presented to a full-time staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the college and its mission of educating students. Watch Tom receive his award here.

Students described Tom as selfless and personable, caring and approachable, hard working and supportive, inspiring and amazing, a father figure. He described them as family, even considering some students and alumni his adopted children.

Since Tom was diagnosed in January, he was there for his Colby-Sawyer family as much as they were there for him. He faced his diagnosis head on with his hallmark positivity and faith, asking only for prayers and reminding everyone to celebrate life. More than 100 people turned out for a surprise party for him in February, and his friends rallied to send Tom and his wife, Nancy, on a Florida vacation where they could spend time together.

“Tom was truly an inspiration in how he faced the past several months, just as he was each day he served Colby-Sawyer,” said Colby-Sawyer President Susan D. Stuebner. “Please join me in keeping his loved ones in our thoughts.”

Tom was born July 5, 1968; grew up in Salem, Mass., and graduated from Merrimack Valley High School. He served in the United States Air Force Security Police and worked as a police officer, dispatcher, salesman and roof consultant.

Tom was a man of great faith and strove to live a life that reflected that faith. He often reached out to community members in any kind of need, whether food or housing. He was also a Christian Fellowship adviser at Colby-Sawyer.

Tom is survived by his wife Nancy (Benward) Bates; son John Bates; parents William and Loretta Bates; and siblings David Bates, Amy Cushing and Becky Smart.

Calling hours will be on Thursday, June 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Chadwick Funeral Home in New London. A service will be held at the First Baptist Church in New London at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 2, with a reception to follow. Read Tom’s obituary here.

In lieu of flowers, Tom asked that donations be made to Camino Global in support of the ministry of Tom and Nancy’s dear friends, Samantha and Jacob Pelletier. Donations may be made online here, or checks may be made payable to Jacob Pelletier and mailed to 49 Misty Oak Drive, Concord, NH 03301.