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31 January 2010

Our Father: CMSGT Max Howry Tomey, USAF Retired

Paula A. Tomey-Allen 

Max Howry Tomey was born June 18, 1920 in Lancaster, Schuyler County, Missouri the third child of Paul Austin and Minnie Estella (Whitacre) Tomey. His middle name is derived from his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Howry) Tomey.

During his adolescent years he attended schools in Missouri and Iowa, graduating from Ottumwa High School in Ottumwa, Iowa. Following high school he attended tech school in Ottumwa and then enlisted in the United States Navy. His Navy career found him serving in various areas; his most cherished time serving upon the "USS North Carolina", now docked in Wilmington, North Carolina. During this time he was joined in marriage to Arlene Lingle of Ottumwa. The couple had one son, Michael Eugene Tomey who now resides in Ottumwa. The couple later divorced.

Upon completing three years with the Navy, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. This enlistment would become 23 total years of military service and dedication to the country that he loved so much. His career would carry him many places and would earn him many awards and praises from all whom had the opportunity to work with "Sgt. Tomey".

In 1949, while stationed in California, he met and fell in love with Thelma Laverne (Hall) Thompson and her two sons from a previous marriage, William (Bill) Thomas Thompson Jr. and Darryl Renee Thompson. Soon after their marriage they were transferred to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas where their first daughter, Paula Annette (Allen), was born in 1950. Four years later, in 1954, while stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois, they were blessed with another daughter, Lisa Joy (Davis). In 1957 the family relocated overseas to Wiesbaden Germany where they welcomed another son, Max Allen. "Little Max", as he was affectionately called, only lived about four weeks and was called Home on Jan. 22, 1958. He is buried in Burlington, Iowa at Memorial Park Cemetery, near his paternal grandparents. On Sept 9, 1959, after the family was transferred to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, another son, Jeffrey Keith was born.

Following tours in California, Texas, Illinois, Germany and Ohio the family was transferred one last time to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where then "CMSGT Tomey" retired from the military with a total of 23 years active service.

During his outstanding military career he served mostly in the field of airman assignments. His scrapbook of memories includes many letters of congratulations on his excellent untiring service and continual dedication to his service and country. A few of the stories follow.

In 1952, while stationed at Parks Air Force Base, Calif., following his suggestion as to how the military could cut 14 1/2 minutes in counseling time for processing each airman, thus saving an average of $8,200 a year to his command, his commander Major Sherman L. Elliott, Jr. writes,

It is a pleasure for me to forward this letter of appreciation to a non-commissioned officer who has indicated through methods of this sort that he is willing to sacrifice personal self in order to attain more effective results in his work. Having this information brought to my attention indicates to me that you constantly manifest a sincere and eager desire to better fulfill your duties and responsibilities. Therefore, as a result of such action and such savings to the service, it is without hesitation or equivocation that I would recommend you for any duty assignment with the candid opinion that you would always conduct yourself in such a manner as to reflect, not only upon your station, but your superiors and your uniform as well.

Then in July of 1953, Major General Harlan C. Parks, Commander of the 3275th Military Training Wing at Parks A.F.B. writes:

I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the interest and initiative shown by you in submitting your idea to complexities of the Airman Career Program.

You interest and participation in the Air Force Awards Program is appreciated and it is hoped that you will continue to submit your constructive ideas.

Sgt. Tomey went on to perform in the military service in a superior manner thus earning him several letters of appreciation from various commanders for which he worked. His most cherished accomplishment was when he received the Legion of Merit for "his outstanding performance while assigned to the military personal division of AF Logistics Command H.q., Wright- Patterson AFB, Ohio, February 1, 1958 to July 30, 1963." (photo caption, Air Force Times, 1963)

The related article states:

The only airman to receive the Air Force Legion of Merit this year is Chief M/Sgt. Max H. Tomey who won it for outstanding performance while assigned to the military personal division of Air Force Logistics Command headquarters. The 250 other Legion of Merit winners this year are officers.

Tomey was presented the medal at the new USAF Military Personal Center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where he is now stationed.

He was cited for excellent performance while chief of the airman's assignment section from February 1958 to last July.

Shortly after arriving in 1958 Tomey was awarded one of the first of then new Air Force Commendation Medals for his activities with Headquarters Air Material Force, European area from 1955 to 1958.

During his military career some of Sgt. Tomey's citations and accommodations include:
  • The Air Force Commendation Ribbon for service from 1955 to 1958
  • The Air Force Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) for service from 1963 to 1964
  • The Legion of Merit for service from 1958 to 1963

On October 3, 2005 he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On February 25, 2007, Sgt. Tomey or as we affectionately call him, “Dad”, passed away. The most important thing to him was his family. He never ceased to talk fondly about his family which included seven children, ten grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren – plus many nieces and nephews who remember him fondly as “Uncle Max”. 

He is so missed, but we are very fortunate to have his legacy live on with us each and every day in all that we do and say.

28 January 2010

Genealogy/Family History: Max Howry Tomey

My great grandmother was Mary Martha Ursula O’Bryan. I never met her as she lived and died long before I was even thought of. I have learned of her from climbing our family tree. Tracing back her lineage, I don’t see her Irish ancestry yet. Someday I hope to. When it is St. Patrick’s Day, I often think of her and wonder what stories she would have to share should I have the opportunity to sit by her knee and take them all in? Perhaps in the next life.

It is so very important for generations past and present to record their family histories. I wish I had been better at it when I was younger, when the memory was more clear and not so opaque. I wish I would have asked my parents and other relatives to share more stories and I wish I had written them down. Now, that they are all gone, I can only wish and wonder.

For today, think about starting a journal if you don’t already. Fill it with memories, recipes, traditions and thoughts. Talk about births, weddings and deaths. Be sure and include dates and add pictures if you have them. You may not see the interest now by your children or other family members, but in the years to come, someone, somewhere, will open the book of memories and travel down the road you have created.

Have a great week ahead!

Something to think about...
Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.
---Thomas S. Monson

Genealogy/Family History: Internet Sites

I have quite a few genealogy sites that I use for research on the Web.Some are free some are not. But, most of the pay sites will have some free information available. I made a folder in my Favorites and saved them all to it. The following is just a small amount of the sites I use.

If you find others to share, please let me know and I will edit this list as compiled.
Happy Hunting!
Family Search from LDS Church records; Also has free software to download:

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Social Security records:

Roots Web:
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Census online:


The Orphan Trains:

Ellis Island:

Free Births, Marriages, and Deaths:

US Gen Web Project:

Public Records Database:

My Family.Com

Genealogy/Family History: Whitacre Family Cemetery; Schuyler County, Missouri

Lat: 40° 33' 55"N, Lon: 92° 26' 40"W, approx.
Total records = 10.

The Whitacre Family Cemetery located on the Max Snowbarger Farm in Darby, Schuyler County, Missouri, is so close to the North Central home of my father Max H. Tomey of Lancaster, Missouri, that there is no line. 

The directions I was given are as follows: out of Lancaster, drive towards the TV tower. When you get to the tower, go left and 2.3 miles north. It is on the way to the Darby church. It is on the southeast corner of a field near an area called the Old Darby farm. 

There is an old house nearby that is falling down. It also is located near the Berle and Anna Shaw farm. They were the ones who showed me where it was. I was there around June 18, 1980. Some of the property may have changed ownership since. 

There is one large stone for Isaac and Luisa and eight small headstones and footstones. The small headstones were all knocked over and laying in various areas of the cemetery. Apparently they were knocked over by the cows which graze there.

We collected them all and stacked them on the base of Isaac and Luisa's large stone. 

Isaac Newton Whitacre and Louisa Jane Norman are my  Great-Great Grandparents.

- Paula A. Tomey-Allen
Reynolds, Jaspen, May 14, 1868, d. Sep 9, 1868, s/of R & SF Reynolds
Whitacre , Luisa J, Sept 6, 1830, d. Aug 3, 1894 (Her maiden name was Luisa Jane Norman)
Whitacre , Isaac N., Jan 30, 1818, d. May 10, 1904 (His middle name is Newton)
Whitacre, Alcinda, d. Jan 21, 185?, 10m 20d, d/o N&L Whitacre
Whitacre, Louzetta, b. Aug 26, 1879, d. Mar 14, 1881, d/of B.R. and S.M. Whitacre (Parents may be Bush Rod and Susan M. Speer Whitacre),
Whitacre, Arthur D, d. Jul 14, 1880, Aged 1 yr 6m 26d, s/of J.H. & B.E. Whitacre
Whitacre, William M, d. Jan 22, 1859, Aged 5yr 11 mo, s/o N&L Whitacre
Whitacre, Andrew J, d. Jun 18, 1872, Age 5yr 6m 6d, s/o N&L Whitacre
Whitacre, Newton J., d. Mar 20, 1858, 10y 6m, 20d, s/o N&L Whitacre
Whitacre, Ira L, d. Mar 21, 1882, 3 y 10m 30d, s/o N&L Whitacre
*(Parents Richard and Sarah Frances L. Norman Reynolds)
**(Parents James Harvey and Barbara Ella Green Whitacre)
***(Parents Bushrod and Susan M. Speer Whitacre)