Thomas R. Pulsifer, 1943-2015

Thomas R. Pulsifer, born Aug. 2, 1943. Died Sept. 8, 2015. Longest serving president of the 1973-founded Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers, from 1976-89. Also was chairman of the Ohio Rail Transportation Authority and served on other rail-related boards and commissions.

Thomas R. Pulsifer, born Aug. 2, 1943. Died Sept. 8, 2015. Longest serving president of the 1973-founded Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers (since dba “All Aboard Ohio”) from 1976-89. Also was chairman of the Ohio Rail Transportation Authority and served on other rail-related boards and commissions.

CLICK HERE to download the 6MB tribute to and presentation about Tom Pulsifer, given by AAO Executive Director Ken Prendergast the association’s Fall Meeting held Oct. 31, 2015 in Toledo.

XENIA — Thomas Richard Pulsifer, 72, of Xenia, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, at Greene Oaks Health Center. He was born Aug. 2, 1943, in Winchester, Mass., the son of Frank and Janice Goldsmith Pulsifer. He is survived by his spouse, Eloise (Jones) Pulsifer, daughter and son-in-law Bethany and Jeffrey Hobbs, and grandson Glenn Thomas Hobbs.

Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Contributions may be made to Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 2199 East Main St., Columbus, OH 43209-2334. Condolences may be made to the family at: http://www.neeldfuneralhome.com/

Tom was a man who inspired many people. He was the longest serving president of the Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers (since dba “All Aboard Ohio”), leading from 1976-89. The association was founded in 1973 by his friend and work colleague (at Ziebart Advertising) David Marshall of Dayton who passed away several years ago.

Tom reluctantly took the reins of OARP (he was actually elected president without his knowledge!) and led the organization for the next 13 years. Tom stabilized and grew a new, small organization into one of the largest, most respected state-level passenger rail advocacy organizations in the nation. He was later appointed by Gov. James Rhodes as chairman of the Ohio Rail Transportation Authority and served on other rail-related boards and commissions. Tom spoke from the heart and led by example. Once while distributing leaflets to passengers on a train endangered with discontinuance, urging them to write to elected officials to save it, an Amtrak official told Tom to cease his activities. “Arrest me,” Tom replied.

After his retirement from OARP (although he was awarded a free, lifetime membership), Tom wrote books on railroad history and was accomplished organ player at his Lutheran church in Dayton (he favored railroad songs, however!). Tom was born in Winchester, Mass. He moved to Ohio where he graduated from Wilmington College and earned his Master of Sacred Music degree from Hamma School of Theology at Wittenberg University. He married Eloise (Jones) Pulsifer and had a daughter Bethany (since married to Jeffrey Hobbs and had Tom’s grandson Glenn Thomas Hobbs).

Tom had been ill for the last few years and was living at Greene Oaks Health Center where he passed away this week.

Tom was one of the mentors of All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast in the 1980s when Prendergast was studying transportation and urban geography at Kent State University and getting involved in passenger rail advocacy.

“You never know when the words you send to someone will be the last ones, and I’m glad that I told him in my last letter that he won’t be forgotten,” Prendergast said.

Prendergast wrote in his final letter to Tom: “You are still and will always be OARP/AAO’s President Emeritus. No one has forgotten you, least of all me. As long as I’m still involved in the coming decades, I will not let you fade away.”

All Aboard Ohio will be paying tribute to Tom in various ways, but the best tribute we can pay is to get Ohio the rail service he fought so hard to achieve.

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1 Comment to "Thomas R. Pulsifer, 1943-2015"

  1. Bethany Pulsifer Hobbs's Gravatar Bethany Pulsifer Hobbs
    September 11, 2015 - 2:01 PM | Permalink

    I want to thank you for these wonderful words! I wanted to post here that we are taking Glenn (Tom’s sole grand child) on his first Amtrak trip in a few weeks. It’s hard knowing we won’t be able to tell dad all about it, but he will be in our hearts the entire trip. Glenn does have a love of trains so Tom certainly lives on!!!

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