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Obituary for Thomas Daniel Garrett

Thomas Daniel Garrett, a retired FedEx pilot who enjoyed his long career with the company almost as much as he loved his family, his pets, and his home, died peacefully at home on September 30, 2017, in the loving care of his wife Shari, daughter Claudia Anne and son Matthew. He is also survived by his sons, Miles and Ross (Kristin), his sisters, Patricia Garrett (Oliver Woshinsky) and Katherine (George) Ball, his grandchildren, Bella, Luke, Rafe, Jake, and Celia Garrett, nephews, Justin Ball and David Woshinsky, niece, Sonja Sartain Orozco, and their families.
Tom was born August 9, 1949 in Arlington, Virginia, the third child and only son of Mary McHale Garrett and John Daniel Garrett. He attended St. Thomas More School, Bishop O’Connell High School, and earned his B.A. in History from George Mason University in 1971. In 1968, while in college, he attended the Broadway musical Hair, which forever changed his view point on politics. Tom also attended Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. He worked for the USPS and in the trucking industry until the day a pilot friend took him up for a ride, an event that was to change his life. For the next several years, Tom focused on becoming a pilot, getting his own license to fly, teaching others, gaining hours and finally landing a co-pilot job with a startup called Dolphin Airlines in Florida. He rose to Captain at Dolphin, and when the small airline folded in 1984, FedEx hired him to fly small planes in the Pacific Northwest. And so it was that FedEx gained what Tom’s family believes was one of its most loyal employees. Tom started at FedEx as a Flight Engineer and then First Officer of the Boeing 727. Next, he became a First Officer of the DC-10, then achieving the rank of Captain of the Boeing 727 (his favorite), and eventually becoming the Captain of the Airbus A300 wide body. He flew mostly international routes for FedEx for30 years until his cancer diagnosis in 2014, a few months before his 65th birthday and mandatory retirement age.
Tom’s first marriage produced his sons, Miles Daniel Garrett of Arcata, California and Ross Thomas Garrett of Purcellville, Virginia, with whom he was close throughout his life. In 1991 in Memphis, he married the love of his life, Shari Karlgaard, and together they adopted, loved, and raised Matthew Dylan Garrett and Claudia Anne Garrett. Tom loved animals and the outdoors. He participated in Shari’s volunteer work fostering injured and abandoned dogs and cats for the SPCA Florida in Lakeland, where they made their home. In 2012, Tom and Shari received The Presidents’ Call to Service Award from President Obama for their volunteer work with Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. Tom also delivered commodities for Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), and volunteered as a bus driver with First United Methodist Church Neighborhood Ministries. He also enjoyed his involvement with the LaMUG (Lakeland Mac Users Group).
His life was one of selfless giving to family and friends. As he dealt with terminal cancer, Tom found joy and comfort in the love of his extended family and his children’s career choices and successful lives.
A celebration of life will be held at 10 am in the chapel at First United Methodist Church on Lake Morton in Lakeland, Florida, on Saturday, October 7, 2017. His family would welcome remembrances posted to heathfuneralchapel.com.
Donations in Tom’s name can be made to the Lakeland SPCA, Cornerstone Hospice Pet Peace of Mind, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or any organization you wish.


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Previous Events

Service

Saturday

7

Oct

10:00 AM
First United Methodist Church Chapel

72 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801

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