Longtime Bellingham resident, Thomas R. Rawls, passed away peacefully on Friday, January 10, 2020. He was 91 years young. Tommy was born on October 24, 1928 in Bothell, WA to Bert and Lorene Rawls. He was the youngest of three children, which included brother Albert, and sister Marion. Tommy lived most of his life in Bellingham, attending Franklin Grade School, Whatcom Junior High, and Bellingham High School, graduating in 1946.
While in junior high and high school Tommy played drums and sang with several dance bands in the county. During this time, he also had his own weekly radio show featuring popular vocal numbers of the era.
The summers of 1947 thru 1950 Tommy spent with the fishing industry in Bristol Bay, AK. He married his high school sweetheart, Maxine Bell on August 20, 1949.
Tommy was a member of The Musicians Union for 25 years, continuing to play and sing with local bands, and groups of his own. He also joined The Teamsters and began a long career of delivery driver, working for several different employers over the years, retiring in 1989 after 20 years with Oak Harbor Freight Lines. For many years Tommy was active with the DARE Division of Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce & Industry as co-chairman of the Ski To Sea Grand Parade and Junior Parade. He is a past member of The Bellingham Yacht Club, and a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge #194. Tommy and Maxine spent many wonderful years as snow birds traveling with good friends.
Tommy considered his greatest achievement to be his marriage to Maxine and their five wonderful children. He will be remembered for his love of music, singing and playing drums, entertaining and socializing, time spent with family fishing, camping and traumatizing grandkids by wearing his speedos on a sunny day. But most of all Tommy will be remembered for his huge heart and unconditional love.
He is survived by his loving wife Maxine, children; Diane (Fred) Young, Taylor (Julie) Rawls, Beth (Chuck) Carlson, Kim (Larry) Johnson, Todd (Tammy) Rawls, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
A private family graveside service is pending. A celebration of Tommy’s life will be held at a later date.