William (Billy) Newcomb Thom
(September 17, 1950 to March 9, 2022), known by his friends as “Billy,” passed away on March 9th, 2022, in Santa Clara, CA at the age of 71. He was born in Los Angeles in 1950 and was the 5th of 10 children born to Dr. John and Louise Thom. He attended St. Brendan’s Elementary School where his trademark sense of humor and headful of curly hair separated him from the pack. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1969. He was kind, curiously bashful, with a subtle generosity toward friends, yet never suffered fools lightly. Billy was engaging, funny and spry, always knowing he had to toe the line at home or suffer the consequences, yet always wondering how far down the sidewalk he could push that line. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, history, westerns and politics and was always impressively accurate. His love of Vin Scully stirred in him a life-long fascination with the sound and delivery of names, slogans and TV commercials, all of which he imitated often giving them his own interpretation. He’d shorten Scully’s famous home run call by nodding his head and proclaiming “SHEGONE!” He was deservedly proud of “his” LA teams, the Dodgers, Rams and Lakers and took particular pleasure in the Ram’s recent SB victory.
Not long after his graduation from High School, he joined the Army serving most of his time stationed overseas in Germany, an experience he relished and often talked about with fondness. Not long after completing his military service, he returned to Los Angeles where he and his oldest brother, Neil, purchased and renovated the renown Ross Sparks Liquor Store at the corner of Larchmont Blvd. and Beverly, where his gruff chuckle, good humor and genial hospitality made the store one of the most popular in Larchmont Village.
He later re-located to Santa Clara, CA where he worked for the Fox family (a relationship he always cherished) at M.E. Fox & Co. He was a beloved member of the Fox team for almost 4 decades. He wore many hats and was experienced in virtually every aspect of the business, retiring as Director of Merchandise. He knew every Fox customer on a 1st name basis and his big heart and impeccable judgement inspired much loyalty while also serving as motivation for his co-workers. Billy was loyal, respectful of both greatness and those struggling on the margins.
Family was always “first and foremost” in Billy’s life. He never missed a family event or holiday gathering and traveled far and wide to attend them all. He was the true family historian. From the football games on the front lawn of the Windsor Blvd family home, to the frisbee tossing pool parties at the Crehan’s, to the softball games at Elysian Park, to dove and duck hunting in Mojave, to deep sea fishing in Mexico, Billy was at the center of the Thom family cheering all his siblings on and keeping tabs on the Thom family lore. He was truly a cat with nine lives having survived two bouts of colorectal cancer, throat cancer and kidney cancer, rarely, if ever, complaining about any of the surgeries, treatments or residual effects of these illnesses. He will be sorely missed.
Billy was pre-deceased by his brothers John Thom and Michael Thom and his sister Louise Quigley. He is survived by his brother Neil Thom and sisters Mary Ellen Armstrong, Sally McGann-Decker, Nancy Wheeler, Martha Kretzmer, Lizzie Lummis and his 23 nieces and nephews. In Billy’s memory, donations may be made to the DeGregorio Family Foundation for research in gastric/esphoageal cancer, P.O. Box 236, Pleasantville, N.Y. 10570 (www.degregorio.org). His ashes will be scattered in locations he visited and loved. A Celebration of his life will be at a time a place still to be determined.