Judge Thomas Randolph McNamara, former State Senator and member of the House of Delegates from Norfolk, died on March 13, 2005, while residing near Blue Grass, Highland County, Virginia.
Throughout his professional life and retirement years, Judge McNamara was tireless in many realms of service for the public, for private associations, and for charities. His character and charisma earned him the profound respect and deep affection of colleagues, constituents, friends and acquaintances. Renown for his wit and writing talent, he particularly relished his work writing lyrics for numerous productions of the Theatre Wing of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association. An avid outdoorsman, his love for the beauty of the Virginia Mountains grew upon his introduction to Highland County in the 1950s. He visited and vacationed in Highland for decades before retiring there.
Born in Evanston, Illinois, on February 17, 1925, of his parents, Aloysius Leo McNamara and Lena Brooke McNamara, he lived until age seven in Hackensack, New Jersey when in the depression year of 1932 his mother returned with her children to the home of her mother, the late Lucy B. Brooke, widow of Judge D. Tucker Brooke, in Norfolk, Virginia.
There he attended Sacred Heart School, Blair Jr. High and Maury High School from which he graduated in 1942. He then matriculated at The Virginia Military Institute with the class of 1946. While there, he was called to active duty in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II and was trained to serve as an underwater demolition expert (later the Navy Seals program). He returned to VMI and graduated in January 1949 with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. He then entered Washington and Lee Law School and graduated with an LLB degree in January 1952.
Having been admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1951, he entered the private practice of law in 1952 in Norfolk with the “Williams” firm, then Williams, Cocke and Tunstall, where he practiced until 1971.
In 1967, he was elected to the House of Delegates of Virginia General Assembly and served from 1968 until 1972 when he was elected to the Senate of Virginia, where he served until 1976. Declining to offer for a second term, he returned to private practice in Norfolk and was elected by the Virginia General Assembly as a judge of the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk, where he served from 1976 until his retirement in 1995. Thereafter he lived in Highland County, Virginia, near the town of Blue Grass. During these years he presided, by designation of the Supreme Court of Virginia, from time to time in circuit courts in many localities in the western part of Virginia.
He was predeceased by his wife of thirty years, the former Mary Bradford Colton, who died in August 1982.
In December 1984, he married Mary Minor Jordon McNamara also formerly of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, who survives him as does his daughter, Mary Bradford White and her husband, Clint, and their sons William and John of Chesapeake, Virginia; and his sons, Thomas R. McNamara Jr. and wife Angela and their sons Leigh and Tucker; John White McNamara of San Francisco, California; David Brooke McNamara II and wife, Cindy and their son, Taylor and daughter Carson of Ashland, Virginia; Leigh Douglas McNamara and wife, Melissa, and their son, Ian of San Francisco, California and Robert Hadley McNamara of Whitestone, Virginia.
He is also survived by a brother, David Brooke McNamara and wife Geri of Averill Park, New York; his sisters, Lucy McNamara Hagan of Norfolk, Virginia, and May McNamara McAllister of Sarasota, California and their children and grandchildren; and by his wife’s son, William A. Thomas, Jr. of Palm Springs, California; and her daughters, Betsy Thomas Currie and husband, Robbie of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Sally Randolph Thomas of Norfolk, Virginia and Molly Jordan Angevine and husband, Eric of Charlottesville, Virginia and his wife’s eight grandchildren.
The family extends special thanks to the doctors and staff of the Augusta medical Center, Fishersville, Virginia.
Services will be held in Blue Grass, Virginia on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 and in Norfolk, Virginia on Thursday, March 17, 2005. In Blue Grass, a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. at The Church of the Good Shepherd, with arrangements being handled by Obaugh Funeral Home. In Norfolk, a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church at W. Princess Anne Road at Stockley Gardens. In lieu flowers it is suggested that donations be made to the American Lung Association, 61 Broadway, New York, New York 10006 (1-212-315-8700) or www.lungusa.org. http://www.lungsua.org/