Thomas Richard “Tom” Defibaugh, 79, of Bethany Beach, Del., passed away on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. His last dinner was with his loving wife, Suzy, and his three children, Susan, Traci and Scott. He enjoyed a chocolate milkshake and French fries, so the family knows he was happy. He was born on June 11, 1940, in Cumberland, Md., son of the late Jeremiah Taylor Defibaugh and Margaret Frances Schoenadel Defibaugh.
Defibaugh was a loving husband, magnificent father and wonderful grandfather (“Gramps”). He involved himself in many charitable causes and giving back to the community. Some of his favorites charitable causes were the Catholic Church, Meals on Wheels, his local St. Ann’s church in Bethany Beach, Knights of Columbus and the Scouts.
He enjoyed traveling and did plenty of that in his life as a U.S. Navy sailor. He lived in Hawaii, California, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, London and Delaware, and he travelled to many countries while assigned to his ship in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Defibaugh enlisted in the Navy in 1957 and graduated from LaSalle High School in Cumberland in 1958. He married his high-school sweetheart, Suzy Browne, in May of 1963. He held the greatest love for his wife, his children and his wonderful grandchildren.
Defibaugh received his commission as ensign in the Medical Service Corps in 1971 while serving on board the U.S.S. Theodore E Chandler (DD717). After serving 43 years in the Navy, he retired in 2000 as a captain. He earned his degrees in health care administration: a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and master’s degree from Troy State University. He is a member of the Naval Institute, the Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. and the American Academy of Medical Administrators.
Defibaugh received the prestigious Paul E Truran Jr. Medical Materiel & Logistics Management Award from AMSUS for significant contributions to the medical materiel managers and the medical logisticians in the naval service, an award that brought him much pride. Besides the Legion of Merit, his personal decorations include Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal, all with gold stars in lieu of second awards.
Defibaugh was a very active member of St. Ann Catholic Church in Bethany Beach, where he engaged in the Men’s Club and the Liturgy Council. As a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, he was a past Faithful Navigator and past Grand Knight.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy Carole Stark; her husband, John Charles Stark; and her son, Christopher John Stark. He is survived by his wife, Suzy; sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Gene Brown of Dale City, Va.; brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Dixie Defibaugh of Wiley Ford, W.Va.; two daughters, Susan Defibaugh and her husband, Innocent Okafor, of Columbia, Md., Traci Stephens and her husband, Yates, of Taneytown, Md.; son, Scott Defibaugh of Frederick, Md.; grandchildren, Alexander and Christopher Okafor, and Seth, Shane and Hailey Stephens; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and countless friends.
The family will receive friends and relatives on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Scarpelli Funeral Home, 108 Virginia Avenue, Cumberland, Md. The funeral service will be on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, at noon, with visitation at 11 a.m., at St. Mary Catholic Church, 300 E Oldtown Road, Cumberland, Md. Interment will follow at Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery, 14205 Pleasant Valley Road NE, Flintstone, Md. Luncheon will follow at St. Mary Catholic Church Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorial donations be made to the St. Ann Church; 691 Garfield Pkwy.; Bethany Beach, DE 19930, or to Catholic Charities; 2601 West 4th St.; Wilmington, DE 19805.