Captain Thomas R. Overdorf USN, ret. died peacefully in his home in Stuart, FL on June 4th, 2015 at the age of 85. Born in Johnstown, PA in 1929 to Theodore R. Overdorf and Lillian (Rodgers), Overdorf was an aviator, a loving husband and father and a dedicated contributor to his community. A 1947 Johnstown High School graduate, Overdorf earned a scholarship to Pennsylvania State University as a Naval ROTC candidate. He was a midshipman in the Holloway Plan and graduated with a BS in Ceramic Engineering in 1951. Overdorf embarked on a thirty year career in the Navy during which he also completed an MS in International Affairs from George Washington University.
Overdorf earned his wings as a naval aviator in 1955 and toured the globe. Highlights of his career include posts as Flag Lieutenant on the staff of Commander Alaska Sea Frontier; test pilot for Grumman Aircraft; Aircraft Handling Officer aboard USS Wasp (CV-18) during the recovery mission of Gemini 4 spacecraft; first Commanding Officer of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-124 flying carrier-based E-1B Tracers and the E-2C Hawkeye aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62). He then served as Commanding Officer of RVAW-110 training squadron located NAS North Island, CA. Overdorf was Executive Officer and acting Commanding Officer aboard USS Constellation (CVA – 64) for the ‘71-72 WestPac deployment to Southeast Asia and a recipient of The Bronze Star medal; Chief of Naval Operations staff, Head of the Carrier Warfare Branch in OPNAV at the Pentagon. While in Washington, DC, he was an aircraft carrier aviation consultant for the exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Overdorf’s military career concluded with a final post as Professor of Naval Science and Commanding Officer of the NROTC unit at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA.
Overdorf lived in Grafton, MA for forty years where he had his second career at Washington Mills. A great lover of his family, the Navy, dogs and horses, cribbage and a dry martini; Overdorf’s quick wit and even temperament will be missed. His dedicated contributions to his community include service as Moderator at the Congregational Church of Grafton, a seat on the Town of Grafton Board of Appeals and a Director of the Grafton Credit Union. Overdorf and his wife moved from Grafton, MA to Stuart, FL in 2013. He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Judith, and his children, Jill of Torrance, CA and Toby of Stuart, FL, daughter-in-law Maggie and grand-daughter Carleigh. Overdorf is survived by his brother David (m. Shari) of Sarasota, FL and predeceased by his brother Richard (m. Joanne).
A service at Arlington National Cemetery will also be held later in 2015.
The family asks that if memorial contributions are made, they are sent to either of the following organizations:
• Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256
• Congregational Church of Grafton, P.O. Box 421, Grafton, MA 01519-0421