Thomas L. Brand, Jr., age 76, passed away peacefully on June 4th in Wilmington, DE. Born in Wilmington on May 12, 1941 Tom, or Tommy as he was known to family and friends, is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas L. and Florence Brand of Wilmington. He is survived by his co-guardians John Riley and Veronica (Matthews) Eid and by his many first cousins and extended family. He was a member of Christ Our King Parish.
Although born with significant disabilities and not expected to live past childhood, Tom led a full and happy life thanks to his family and his caregivers at Easterseals and Mosaic of Delaware and many others. For the last 30 years, Tom spent his days at an Easter Seals day program. He enjoyed summers at Easterseals Camp Fairlee for over 60 years. During the later years of his life, Tommy lived with friends in the Mosaic of Delaware Black Diamond Group Home in Smryna.
Although an only child, Tom knew the joys of a large extended family with numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Before the loss of his parents, he lived at home and would make daily rounds with his mother to visit family - the Rileys and the Butlers, from his mother’s family and the Matthews, O'Connor's and Sr. Hiltruda OSF and Sr. Cordula OSF from his father’s family. Pioneers in advocacy for people with disabilities, Tom’s parents made sure he experienced life to the fullest, including, at one time, working several days a week answering the phone at his father's accounting firm.
In his early years, he spent summers in Atlantic City where he would entertain his cousins by pushing them up the boardwalk in his wheelchair. He also loved to visit his southern Delaware family, the Lynch's and Vignola's. Many local restaurant and shop owners in Rehoboth Beach looked forward to his visits and would always come out to greet him.
Tom may have been Elvis Presley's biggest fan. Elvis (A.K.A. Elvis Impersonator, Ted Tharp) performed for Tom and his Easterseals friends every year on his birthday. Tom knew the words to all of Elvis' greatest hits. His favorite TV shows were "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune". Always able to recall addresses and phone numbers from 50 years ago, he was the family’s institutional memory bank.
The family expresses their sincere thanks to staff at Easterseals, Mosiac, Christiana Care and Tom’s physician, Dr. Syan Hasan for loving and professional care over the years.
A visitation is planned at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 10th at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church, 10 Old Church Road, Greenville, with Mass to follow at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to either Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore at 61 Corporate Circle, New Castle, DE 19720 or Mosiac at 261 Chapman Rd, Newark, DE, 19702.