Thomas (Tom) Tyler Potterfield, Sr., loving husband, father and grandfather passed away on Monday, February 3, 2020 at the age of 90. Tom was born in Leesburg, Virginia on September 7, 1929. He attended Auburn University and graduated from the University of Maryland after serving in the United States Navy for two years. He had a 30-year career with Ralston Purina, starting in sales and finishing his career as the U.S. Eastern Regional Sales and Manufacturing Manager. Tom was affectionately referred to as the “gentle giant” because of his large stature but extremely kind heart.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Ruth Fahringer Potterfield; daughter, Beth Potterfield Hiers of Miramar Beach, FL; granddaughters, Savanah Elizabeth Hiers of Tuscaloosa, AL (UofA) and Madison (Maddie) Duval Hiers of Tallahassee, FL (FSU); and daughter-in-law, Maura Meinhart of Richmond, VA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Evelyn Potterfield; his sister, Betty Sue Tyler; his son, Thomas Tyler Potterfield, Jr.; and son-in-law, Jerry Alan Hiers.
Tom had a full life after retiring in 1985. He and Ruth moved to The Landings in Savannah, Georgia and became an integral part of the community. He was one of the founders of the Skidaway Island Kiwanis Club and served as their third President. Tom was instrumental involving the Kiwanis with the Bethesda Home for Boys. He served as a member of the Board for Bethesda and was elected as President. Tom also was elected to serve as Board Member of The Landings Association Board and The Landings Club Board. Tom volunteered in the neighboring school. He did the mentoring with young students and was also a volunteer to be a child advocate in family court.
The family would like to thank all of the special people that cared for Tom over the years and is sincerely grateful to the staff at The Marshes and The Oaks, to his special caregivers Selema Reeves, Monica Cody and Twyla Hill and to his physician for over 28 years, Dr. Thomas Hogan, Jr.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, February 10, 2020 at Skidaway Island United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorials be made in memory of Tom Potterfield to the Skidaway United Methodist Church, 54 Diamond Causeway, Savannah, GA 31411 for use in local missions.
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.
- Zeni Freeman, Ridgeland , SC
AS President of the Skidaway Club of Skidaway Island we extend our deepest sympathy at Tom's loss. He played an important role in formation and leadership of the club. We continue that tradition of supporting activities for at risk children. Tom will be missed.
- Bobby and Elaine Gillham, Savannah, GA
Karen & I send our condolences to Ruth and family. I had the privilege of working with Tom in Harrisburg, PA 1983-86. Jointly, we had some good business successes during that time. The biggest impact, however, that Tom had on our life was his personal coaching of a 32 year old greenhorn on personal finance and company benefits. Tom was not one to meddle in others affairs, but he broke his own rules to question how I had responded to a new benefit program (that I had thrown into the trash). He used his contacts to order me a second copy which I signed and returned. I will never forget that. We had the pleasure to visit Tom & Ruth years ago at Skidaway Island. They were truly leaders there in retirement as they were in their work lives.
- Glenn & Karen Shields, Gold Canyon, AZ
Jan and Warren Melles want to express our deepest sympathy to Tom's family at his passing. We were colleagues of Tom & Ruth at Ralston Purina in the late 70's. Tom was a joy to work with. He was a staunch supporter of Purina's Eastern Region sales force, a group he had huge respect for, and great empathy with. Our condolence's to Ruth, a great lady, and to the Potterfield family.
- Warren & Jan Melles, Minneapolis, MN
I remember Tom as a fine and generous Purina man, while I never worked directly with him he did ask me to be Sales Manager in Louisville, KY. That didn’t work for me personally at the time but I remember the Gracious dinner he and Ruth hosted for me as we discussed opportunity at Louisville, he was gracious and understanding when I declined the offer. He will be missed by his many friends.
- Bob Brown , Saint Louis, Missouri
Sending all our love, sympathy and peace to your family. May you find peace in all the beautiful memories you shared.
- Diaco, Tampa, Fl
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. Tom sounds like a wonderful giving person serving others at all stages of his life. May God bring Peace to your family. Hugs and Love to All from Norton's. Psalm 147:3 "He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds."
- Norton's , Tega Cay, SC
Thinking of you all!
- Gainer Hiers, Picayune, Mississippi
I met Mr. Potterfield at Fairway Lincoln Mercury. I had the pleasure to sell Mr. Potterfield several Lincoln's over the years. During this time he gave me guidance, sales tips and knowledge. One of my greatest memories is when Mr. Potterfield stated he considered me a friend. He would stop by the dealership just to say hello. This is a man I respected greatly. To the family. Your husband, father, uncle and all other family members. Mr. Potterfield will live on forever in you and all that he knew, even does he never meet through people like me. I am thankful and a better man, father and husband because of his influence.
- JJ Walker , Savannah, Georgia