Thomas Paul Wohlwender, 89, of Maitland, Florida passed away peacefully on Friday November 10, 2023 after a day surrounded by his devoted family.
Tom was a world class musician, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend to many. He was a passionate fisherman and sports fan. He was the rare person who brought fun, happiness, joy and humor wherever he went while accomplishing greatness in his professional and personal life.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 21, 1934, the son of Paul and Louise Wohlwender, Tom’s early life was that of a musical prodigy with the trumpet. By the age of 12, young Tom was playing trumpet before crowds of thousands. He was accepted to study at the Curtis Institute of Music where he majored in trumpet performance and piano.
After graduation from Curtis Institute he served as the principal coronet soloist for the U.S. Army band playing around the country and at venues such as the White House and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Following his tour in the Army he played in the New Orleans and Denver Orchestras before auditioning for the famous conductor George Szell and being invited to become a member of the Cleveland Orchestra where he spent the rest of his musical career. While with Cleveland he traveled the world and was part of numerous recordings including the Grammy award winning “The Antiphonal Music of Gabrielli” which is considered the preeminent brass ensemble recording of the era.
A devoted husband and father, Tom wed his high school sweetheart, Nan, shortly after graduating from bootcamp, a marriage and abiding friendship which would last 68 years. His son Eric and daughter Jill were always showered with his love and affection.
Tom’s true vocation was his role as “Grampy”, the moniker he wore with pride over the last 33 years of his life. His grandchildren were the primary focus of his time and attention.
He was ever present in their lives and set the standard for grandparenting. Tom was a role model, mentor, and cherished presence in the lives of his grandchildren and their friends, many of whom adopted him as their surrogate “Grampy”.
He was a passionate and skilled fisherman. Tom’s passing will likely simultaneously cause a drop in Bass Pro Shop stock and a revival of the seatrout population in Mosquito Lagoon. From Mosquito Lagoon and the flats of Titusville to Cedar Key, Tampa Bay, Lemon Bay and Charlotte Harbor, Tom loved fishing the coastal waters of Florida. At 88 he managed his last inshore slam catching a redfish, snook and seatrout on the same morning in Tampa Bay. A true sports fanatic throughout his life, he was an informed, passionate, opinionated and diehard supporter of both his beloved Miami Dolphins and Orlando Magic.
Tom is survived by his wife Nannette H. Wohlwender, sister Nancy Goslee, daughter Jill (Jon), grandchildren Josh (Meggie), James, Jessica, Jenna and great grandson Jonathan Elijah Hamrick. He is predeceased by his son Eric Thomas Wohlwender (Susie Sonnier).