Thomas Lawrence Middlebrook, Jr., January 24, 1942 - June 6, 2017
Thomas Lawrence “Tommy” Middlebrook, Jr., of Groesbeck, passed away Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at Providence Hospital in Waco, at age 75. After many months of health struggles, Tommy gained his freedom from all pain and suffering and the eternal reward of his Heavenly home.
Funeral services were held Friday, June 9, 2017, at the Church of Christ in Groesbeck, with Brother Richard Williams and Brother Clifton Fox officiating. Burial followed in Faulkenberry Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Tom Middlebrook, David Middlebrook, Brent Rutherford, Ethan Rutherford, Shane Rutherford, and Ryan Rutherford. Honorary pallbearers were Don Middlebrook, Jared Middlebrook, John Middlebrook, Joshua Middlebrook, Ken Neyland, B.K. Stone, John Billingsley, Don Brewer, Rand Bates, Dale Wilson, and Wally Bishop.
Tommy was born January 24, 1942 to Thomas L. Middlebrook, Sr. and Evelyn Frances (Allen) Middlebrook in Whitney. He graduated from Whitney High School in the Class of 1960 and had been active in football and track. He attended Abilene Christian College the next year, and then Navarro College the following year. At Navarro, it was his good fortune to meet the love of his life, Deanne Corbitt from Groesbeck, while both attended the Church of Christ Bible Chair.
Tommy and Deanne were united in marriage on August 31, 1962 at the Church of Christ in Groesbeck, with Brother Kenneth Green, who was the director of the Navarro College Bible Chair, performing the ceremony. Tommy and Deanne went back to Abilene College, and then graduated from Sam Houston State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966. He then received his Masters of Education in 1968.
Tommy taught, primarily Elementary and Junior High math and science, for the next thirty plus years. He taught in Navasota, Palestine, Oakwood, and Buffalo, and was Principal at Oakwood and Buffalo. He taught with love and discipline, and on occasion used a paddle when needed (after using it on his own son.) He was a good sport with dressing up in costumes for pep rallies (Elvis and Tina Turner) and entertained the family at home as Grandpa Jones in his overalls and banjo.)
Tommy had been preaching for some years, before becoming a full-time Bible student at Whites Ferry Road School of Biblical Studies in West Monroe, LA. from 1974 through 1976. He preached in Church of Christ congregations in Midway, Ash (Austonio) and Oakwood before moving to Louisiana for school, and at Bethel, LA. while attending Bible college; then at Buffalo, Kosse, and Wortham, as well as filling in when needed at many other churches. He performed marriages, including his daughter and a son’s weddings, and funerals; taught Bible classes; and after retiring and moving to Groesbeck, he had served as an elder of the Church of Christ since December 7, 2014.
Tommy wore many hats, in addition to his real Fedora, as an educator, principal, bus driver, insurance salesman, preacher, Bible teacher, soul-winner for Christ, father, grandfather, and devoted husband. He loved gardening and his kids enjoyed the best corn and tomatoes; he loved working in his garden even when his back and shoulders told him not to be doing that. He loved to sing, tell stories and jokes, tease everybody, and call all the kids and grand-kids by nicknames. When he walked into a room, he made a point to shake hands and speak to everybody. He never met a stranger, and always seemed to find someone he knew, even at Walmart. He was never truly retired but remained a servant of the Lord. Even when not teaching, preaching or leading singing, he was keeping his family and many other people in prayer, as well as always praying for his country. He was a true example of a Christian brother to all who knew him.
Tommy was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Sharron Booth; grandparents, George Milton and Verbia Allen, and William Talbot and Agnes Middlebrook (all of whom had lived in Whitney.)
He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Deanne Middlebrook; son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Vicki Middlebrook of Rowlett; daughter and son-in-law, Lea and Brent Rutherford of Arlington; son and daughter-in-law, David and Melissa Middlebrook of Temple; and son Don Middlebrook of Chicago, IL. His eight grandchildren are: Ethan Rutherford of Bellingham, WA, Shane Rutherford of Arlington, Ryan Rutherford of Arlington, Jenna Middlebrook of Rowlett, John Middlebrook of Rowlett, Jared Middlebrook of Temple, Jordan Middlebrook of Temple, and Joshua Middlebrook of Temple. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law, Keith and Karen Middlebrook of Whitney and Gary and Lorraine Middlebrook of Cedaredge, CO; brother-in-law, Ronnie Booth of Whitney; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Don and DeLou Corbitt of Mexia; and many cousins, nieces and nephews, other extended family, friends, and colleagues.
“…and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:17
Visit www.groesbeckfuneralhome.com to leave messages of condolence on the guestbook.