November 16, 1933 - February 24, 2015
On Tuesday morning, Feb. 24, 2015, Tom Thrailkill quietly slipped the bonds of this earth while holding the hands of his loving wife and soulmate, Therese. Waiting to celebrate his arrival in heaven were his parents, Tom and Ethel Thrailkill, his sister Margaret, and many other family members and dear friends.
Tom was born and raised in Waldo, Arkansas, the youngest of Tom and Ethel’s four children. His parents’ successful department store inspired Tom’s interest in and passion for retail merchandising and customer service. After graduating from Waldo High School with a reputation for being a wonderful dancer, he attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas, for one year. He transferred to the University of Arkansas to major in business. “Tommy” pledged as a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and, for a time, managed the House. He took great pride in serving his country during the Korean War as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps.
Following his military service, Tom hit the road to begin his career in retail marketing. He began honing his expertise as a selling manager for Rembergs and for Elmar Men’s, both in Tulsa, Oklahoma, then as a sales rep at Peter Pan International for 11 years, and later at Fairfield-Noble as a manufacturer’s sportswear rep. Tom’s travels took him across much of the country, whetting his later appetite for long road trips to new places. A favorite journey he loved to recount was his adventure in the observation car of the California Zephyr train, exploring the western United States.
Beginning in 1974, the proudest and most memorable years of Tom’s career were his years with Neiman Marcus, specializing in men’s clothing and men’s furnishings at Dallas’ prestigious downtown and Northpark stores. He embraced Stanley Marcus’ passion for service and took great pride delivering exceptional service to his strong customer following. Upon retiring from Neiman’s, he applied his considerable sales talent as a concierge with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he was named a Town Hero in 2001 by the local CBS TV affiliate in Dallas. He met and fell in love with a fellow concierge at the West End Marketplace — Therese (Stubbs), his one true love, whom he married at age 65. Together they reveled in exploring all things new about Dallas’ restaurants and many attractions, to share with their respective clients.
Tom and Therese shared a love for travel. Among their many trips they honeymooned in Hawaii, sailed the Queen Mary, vacationed in Italy, and visited New York City and the West Coast. They would hop in their car at the drop of a hat for a road trip to explore new places and to visit family and friends.
Tom was a remarkably social man who never met a stranger. This, plus his disarming openness and uncanny ability to discover connections with nearly everyone he met, made him the ultimate conversationalist and storyteller. He never lost his salesman’s skill for remembering the smallest details about people he met. He loved the opera, especially the beloved aria “Nessun Dorma,” from Puccini’s “Turandot.” He was fond of classical music, particularly piano, and was always inspired by the music of violinist Joshua Bell. He enjoyed sharing good meals with friends and family. He loved everything about Neiman Marcus (“the Store”), which nurtured his appreciation for excellence and quality in everything from clothing and wine glasses to customer service.
Tom loved his family and friends, but most of all, he loved and cherished Therese, with whom he would have celebrated 16 years of marriage this May. In addition to his sisters, Sue Ann Scott and Rosalie Bearden, and the families of his many nieces and nephews, he is survived by Therese’s six children, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, who enthusiastically ‘adopted’ him years ago.
A memorial to celebrate Tom’s life will be held at 1:00pm on Sunday, March 29, at Caruth Haven Court, 5585 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the XI Educational Foundation of Arkansas, Hillcrest Station, P.O. Box 250333, Little Rock, AR 72225-0333.
Arrangements under the direction of:
Aria Funeral Home
10116 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75238
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