Thomas C. Ragan
August 17, 1941 - March 8, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Veteran. Husband. Father. PopPop
Dad wanted the words listed above to be the first line of his obituary and he wanted to be known as a Veteran first. His Letters of Commendation addressed our father’s ‘exemplary, meticulous and diligent manner’ in the ‘processing and reallocation of personnel’ throughout the Eighth United States Army both Stateside and in Southeast Asia. After our mother Margo died in 2018, I asked him about his volunteer work at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery. He told me that he while in the Army he processed young men before they went to Vietnam. It was his job at one point to record their military identification details and whom stateside would be next of kin. Working at the Cemetery allowed him on a daily basis to see names come across his desk and he felt honor bound to see if any jolted his memory of a young soldier so many decades ago.
Our mother’s death shattered him. Anyone who knew them together witnessed the genuine affection, humor and love that they shared. For those in attendance, there were few dry eyes during their 50th Anniversary when Dad sang to her Kenny Rogers, “Through the Years.” He would have done anything for her.
Paul called Dad the original “Superman.” Dad beat the odds by receiving a dual kidney- pancreas transplant in 1993. Subsequent years added health issues but he always rebounded. Our Dad was the Man of Steel until Mom died.
Waiting for that transplant back in the early 90s, Dad asked me to write his obituary. “How did my father uniquely love us?” I wondered. It was 1982 and Sweetlands by Ezra Stone and Bud Smith was a play in Newtown. I was petrified to be on stage but my best friend Cara Godwin insisted I join her. I had one word to say on stage in a long dress borrowed from her mother. Simon & Garfunkel piped in the background and as “Bridge over Troubled Waters” hit a crescendo, I said “1979” and all of a sudden in the darkened Council Rock auditorium this person stood up and with a raucous voice, started clapping, whooping and yelling my name. Afterwards, I asked Dad how he could embarrass me that way. He told me that at that precise moment in time he wanted me and me alone to know how courageous I was and for his praise to not get lost in the general applause at the end of the performance.
Dad of 1992 wanted to save Paul’s grand slam baseball as he told me that my brother had an innate leadership and athleticism that was to be admired. Dad used to say to me how Paul was the type of boy that people naturally followed. Dad of 2021, with fear and love stoked by delirium retold to a hospice nurse all of Paul’s triumphs both personally and professionally. The hospice nurse asked which of my brother’s dishes as a Chef, was my father’s favorite. I wrote down verbatim what he said ..”my favorite is whichever is on my plate.” Their humor was unique to them and many of us feel that the “Ragan Humor” is an acquired taste!
‘PopPop’ did not come about until the arrival of Emma in 2002. As with my mom as ‘MomMom’, our father treasured his granddaughter. Emma always understood Dad and she had an ability to tease him, cajole him and make him feel special. My sons, Luca and Bastián looked forward to their times with my parents as trips to Mt. Fuji and Goodnoes were always on the list. After Mom died, the boys now teens got to engage with PopPop on a more relatable level. Luca and PopPop even got their driver’s licenses renewed together! (It’s okay. Dad did not drive. He said to me that having a driver’s license made him feel young again and gave him a sense of dignity that belied his failing health.)
My dad in so many ways was my hero. He taught me to love my country, our government. He taught me about loyalty. He was my Brownie girl scout leader, CYO parent, chaperone at dances, and even my partner in a twist contest at the Newtown Swim Club where I lifeguarded. Growing up, I always knew that my father had my back.
Dad is predeceased by his parents, Charles and ‘Dolly the Great’ Ragan; sisters, Patti (Ragan) Krysinski, Sue (Ragan) MacNeil and Mary Ragan.
Tom is survived by his daughter, Jocelyn S. (Ragan) Micolucci, her husband Louis M. Micolucci, and grandsons Luca and Bastián Micolucci. His son, Paul T. Ragan and granddaughter, Emma S. Ragan also survive him.
A Catholic Mass will be held at St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church, 81 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA on Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11am. Family greetings will take place the hour prior to Mass. The Funeral Mass will be LIVESTREAMED. see http://www.standrewnewtown.com/
Internment will be privately held at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to Warrior Rising.
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