William Thomas “Tom” Sistrunk, 80, was called home March 29, 2011. Tom was born in Seadrift, Texas on December 16, 1930, the first child of Blanche and Tiney Sistrunk. After graduation from Calhoun High School, Tom attended Texas A&M University where he received a Bachelors degree in Agronomy in 1952 and later a Masters degree in Agricultural Education in 1971. After serving in the Air Force, Tom began his career with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. He returned to the Brazos Valley and served as the county agent for Brazos County from 1957 to 1986.
When he returned to Bryan, he met the love of his life Caroline “Kelley” Olson. Tom and Kelley were married September 26, 1959 at All Faiths Chapel on the A&M Campus. The marriage was blessed with five children, Debra, Karen, Thomas, Gayle and Mark.
As a county agent, he worked actively with area farmers. He developed and conducted outstanding educational programs. He was noted for his effective use of mass media through his daily radio program and weekly news column. He also played an active role in working with 4-H youth and adult leaders conducting outstanding 4-H programs. Through his leadership, Brazos County boasted many state award winners, champion judging teams, and champion livestock exhibitors.
Tom was an avid outdoorsmen. He would frequently take his family camping, teaching them to appreciate the beauty of nature and the value of time spent together. Throughout his life, Tom was an avid follower of Aggie athletics. Later in life, he and Kelley enjoyed travelling, spending time at the lake house at Camp Creek, and visiting with family and friends. Tom and Kelley were active members of Our Saviours Lutheran Church for over 50 years.
Tom was one of the founding members of Brazos Beautiful, dedicating countless hours promoting conservation in Brazos County. He was also a member of the Bryan Rotary Club for over 50 years where one of his proudest moments was leading a group of Rotarians on a humanitarian mission trip to Africa.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Kelley, and a grandson Ralph Harris.
He is survived by sister Dolores Peters of San Antonio, daughter Debra Filardo of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, daughter Karen Harris and her husband Randy of Magnolia, son Thomas Sistrunk and his wife Melissa from Sugar Land, daughter Gayle Hartfelder and her husband Jack of Darien, Connecticut, and son Mark Sistrunk from Austin. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Nicholas, Stephanie, and Matthew Filardo, Courtney and Kelly Harris, Carrie and Connor Sistrunk, and Lindsey and Kelsey Hartfelder, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the William T. Sistrunk Memorial Scholarship Fund set up at the Texas 4-H Foundation, P.O. Box 11020, College Station, Texas 77842.
Visitation hours will be held Thursday, March 31, 2011 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan. Services will be held Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:00 a.m., at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in College Station with Pastor Eric Schaefer officiating. Interment will follow at the College Station Cemetery.