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Thomas F. Markham, Jr.

Obituary for Thomas F. Markham, Jr.

July 18, 1933 - November 23, 2017
Rye Beach, Massachusetts | Age 84

Beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather


Thomas F. Markham, Jr., of Rye Beach, NH, formerly of Eliot, ME and Wakefield, MA died on November 23, in his residence after complications from a lengthy struggle with an ever debilitating Parkinson's disorder; the last month especially difficult. He was born in Lowell, MA on July 18, 1933 and was the loving son the late Thomas F. and Elizabeth (Tully) Markham.

Tom, an avid boater and dedicated Boy Scout and community leader, was a graduate of Lowell High School, class of 1951, and Saint Anselm College and Fitchburg State College where he earned a Masters in Education. He served our nation in the United States Army and Army Reserve from 1952 to 1963 and in active duty in the 3rd US Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") from 1956 to 1958. He was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Staff Sargent on February 14, 1963. Tom married his best friend and love of his life, Adrienne (Murphy) Markham, a retired nurse and nursing professor, of Lawrence, MA on November 8, 1959 and together they started a family in Chelmsford, MA that, in 1980, would take them to Wakefield, MA and eventually retiring to Eliot, ME and Rye Beach, NH.

Education was at the core of Tom's values and began a career as a teacher at Lowell High School and Dracut High School; later being hired as the director of vocational and adult education at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, where he also served as interim superintendent, and in 1980 began his humble, yet accomplished twenty-year tenure as Superintendent-Director of Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocation Technical School in Wakefield. He was active in several professional associations, including the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Community and volunteer leadership and service also marked Tom's life's work having served as member and chair of the Board of Selectmen and the Town Finance Committee in Chelmsford, and Planning Committee and Founding Regional School Committee for the Nashoba Regional Vocational School District in Westford. Tom was a founding member and Life Member of the Chelmsford Lodge of Elks, and active in the Eliot-Kittery, ME Lions Club. A committed adult leader in Boy Scouting, Tom was a parent leader in Chelmsford's Cub Pack 61 and later Boy Scout Troop 77, where he served a chair of the Troop Committee, and among many camping and outdoor adventures he enjoyed years at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation. He was selected for adult membership in the Order of the Arrow having achieved his Brotherhood Membership in Wannalancit Lodge in 1981. In the 1980's and 1990's, he was tapped to serve on the Executive Boards of two, now legacy, boy scout councils, namely the Greater Lowell Council and the Boston Minuteman Council.

In additional to his volunteer work and as a non-partisan office holder, Tom was active in local and state Democratic Party politics having served, in different decades, as member and chair of the Chelmsford, MA and Eliot, ME Democratic Town Committees. Beginning in the 1950's and throughout the subsequent 45 years, he was active as a Middlesex County campaign coordinator for Senator Edward Kennedy, Governor Michael Dukakis, Lt. Governor Thomas O'Neill, III and Congressmen Paul Tsongas and James Shannon. He would also actively volunteer in local state legislative campaigns in both Massachusetts and Maine. In 2002, although unsuccessful in the general election, he was elected as the Democratic nominee for State Representative in Eliot, Kittery, York and Ogunquit, ME.

Tom was the loving father of Thomas F. Markham, III and wife Diane (Igo) and adoring grandfather of Nora Ann Markham and Thomas F. Markham, IV all of Wakefield. His son, Thomas III, an elected member of the Wakefield School Committee, is the Business Manager at EDCO Collaborative in Bedford, MA, former CFO for Gloucester Public Schools and former Assistant Superintendent at Minuteman Regional Vocational School in Lexington. Tom was brother of Donna (Markham) Carroll and husband Lawrence D. Carroll of Redondo Beach, CA, formerly of Lowell. Tom is survived by many Markham, Carroll, Sullivan, Harrington, Tully and Murphy nieces, nephews and cousins in MA, NH and CA.

A funeral service will be held at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Tuesday, Nov 28 at 10am followed by a Funeral Mass at The Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 1155 Main St., Wakefield at 11am. Interment will be at Saint Patrick's Cemetery, Lowell. Visitation of relatives and friends will be held at the Funeral Home on Monday from 4-8pm.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School Scholarship Fund, 100 Hemlock Road, Wakefield, MA 01880 and/or The Key Foundation, Inc. for Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation's Markham Family Development Fund online at

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School Scholarship Fund
    100 Hemlock Rd.
    Wakefield, MA 01880

Arrangements By

McDonald Funeral Home

19 Yale Avenue
Wakefield, MA 01880
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