Thomas Michael Volatile, a retired insurance salesman and former Navy lieutenant commander, died of cancer Aug. 8 at his home in Lewes, Delaware. He was 92 years old and had lived in Hunt Valley.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Broadway, he was the son of Anthony Volatile and his wife, Theresa Volatile. He was a 1949 graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history from what is now Loyola University of Maryland. He ran track and was a diver on the school swim team.
He was commissioned an ensign in the navy and served aboard the destroyer Robert A. Owens, the freighter Seminole, and the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard.
He was stationed at Bainbridge in Cecil County; San Diego, California; Livorno, Italy; and the Pentagon. He also toured Vietnam and served as a combat historian in a then newly created field.
Mr. Volatile later served as Commanding Officer of the Armed Forces Entry and Examination Station in Philadelphia and later served as Assistant to the Commanding Officer of the Philadelphia Naval Dockyard.
He retired as a lieutenant commander, then changed careers, becoming a Massachusetts Mutual insurance agent in 1973. He worked another 47 years in that role.
Mr. Volatile was a musician and sang with the Pine Barons, a choir of barbers.
“Life with Thomas was colorful. You never knew what to expect from him. It could be a song, usually a joke,” his girlfriend Carol Dennis said. “He was a true patriot and continued all his life to defend veterans around the world.”
She said he was proud of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
“He hasn’t missed many football, basketball or lacrosse games in the last 17 years,” she said.
He gave small talks about life experiences to his grandchildren.
“He told them how to behave, how to treat the people in their lives and table manners,” she said. “They rolled their eyes when he got up to speak, but I think secretly they were looking forward to his lectures, and they all adored him.”
In 2021, Mr. Volatile shared his life stories on WBOC-TV’s Delmarva Life.
“I’ve tried to live the best life I can and I know I’ve stumbled sometimes, but I’ve always tried to pick myself up and carry on. I just want to be remembered as a good man. “, he said in the television interview. “If people can say that about me, then I have achieved something special”.
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He enjoyed golf games, running, water sports, gourmet cooking, crossword puzzles and gardening.
“He wasn’t one to slow down,” his companion said. “Thomas even did a parachute jump when he was 80. He wanted to do another one when he was 90 but I said no.”
After moving to Lewes, Delaware, in 2016, he joined Cape Henlopen Elks Lodge and became chairman of its veterans committee.
In 2019-20, he received the Volunteer Veteran Award for his work.
A tenor, he sang karaoke at the Seaside Fish House in Long Neck, Delaware.
Survivors include his girlfriend of 17 years, Carol Dennis, manager of Coastal Concerts in Lewes; two sons, Thomas Michael Volatile Jr. of Santa Rosa, California, and Mark Howard Volatile of Knoxville, Tennessee; two daughters, Patricia Brandon McTague of Willingboro, New Jersey and Charlotte Anne Goebel of Cape Coral, Florida; ten grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was father to Carol’s son, Scott Dennis, a resident of Millsboro, Delaware and grandfather to her three sons. Mr. Volatile’s wife, Marjorie Day, died in 1995.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on August 15 at Parsell Funeral Home and Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel at 16961 Kings Highway in Lewes.