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Thomas J. Cence

Posted By DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On October 4, 2014 @ 12:39 pm In Obituaries | 9 Comments

Thomas James Cence, 99, passed away on Friday, October 3, 2014 at Brethren Village. He was born in Harrisburg, PA on March 24, 1915 to Thomas James and Iva Sue (Birely) Cence. He was the devoted husband of the late Jean Keener Cence whom he married in 1950 and with whom he shared 54 years of marriage. He is survived by his daughters, Barbara (Mrs. Daniel) Witmer of Lancaster and Mary (Mrs. Richard) Trost of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, and his grand daughters Elizabeth and Katherine Trost.

Tom graduated from the Thaddeus Stevens Trade School in 1935 with trades in architectural drawing and carpentry. After graduation he was employed in Lancaster in the local housing industry.  During World War II he served on special assignment to the US Air Force in North Africa.  Upon his return in 1944 he joined Armstrong Cork Company in Lancaster where he moved through various positions from engineering drafting into field sales. In 1955 he joined Keener Tag Manufacturing in Lancaster and remained its President and owner until 1985. He was also the President and owner of Metzger Publicity in Lancaster and Tagcraft Corporation in Brooklyn, NY.

An active member of the Lancaster business and civic community, he remained an especially stalwart supporter of the Thaddeus Stevens Trade School, now the Stevens College of Technology, for all of his life. Beginning in 1955 and until his death, he was a member of the Thaddeus Stevens Alumni Association and the Thaddeus Stevens Foundation where he served terms as Secretary and President and was instrumental in establishing the Alumni Housing Program.  Appointed to the Stevens Board of Trustees in 1963 by then Governor Scranton, he became its President in 1973 and served two terms in that position. Upon the schools accreditation as the Stevens College of Technology, he was the recipient of the first honorary degree and was bestowed a Doctor of Public Service in 1998.   So that others may benefit from the education and guidance of the institution, he endowed the Thomas Cence Scholarship that has been awarded annually since 2009.

In addition to his lifework at Stevens, he served on the Boards of Directors of the Teachers Protective Life Insurance Company, Davis Oil Company, Meridian Bank, and Lancaster Federal Savings and Loan. He was a member and past President of the Lancaster Area Manufacturers Association (LAMA). During his service LAMA merged with the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry to become the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. Elsewhere within the community, he was a Chair of the East Hempfield Community Chest, director of the James Buchanan Foundation, and past President of the Lancaster Rotary Club where he had perfect attendance for over 50 years of membership. He was a faithful member of St. James Episcopal Church where he served fives years as a vestryman and Registrar and where along with his wife Jean he established the Cence Youth Fund to support programming for the parish and community.

An avid, talented, and fiercely competitive golfer, he was a member of the Lancaster Country Club, Pine Valley Golf Club, and The Landings Country Club of Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA. Winner of the LCC Club Championship in1950, he won numerous tournaments throughout Lancaster and the broader golf community. Throughout his playing years, he shot scores at or below his age on many occasions. He also enjoyed many years of membership in the Tucquan Club and Lancaster Pirates.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Service at St. James Episcopal Church, 119 N Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602 (on the corner of Orange and Duke Streets) on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM with the Rev. David W. Peck officiating.  A private interment will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Thomas J. Cence Scholarship Fund, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, 740 East End Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17602.

Condolences for the family of “Thomas J. Cence”

Condolence from marvin and carole daley on October 5th, 2014 8:59 am

Sorry to learn of your dad’passing. He lived the good life. May your sadness quickly turn to happy memories.

Condolence from F. George Miller on October 5th, 2014 9:57 am

I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one, I know it’s not easy to go through. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
George Miller

Condolence from Shirley H. Rabck on October 5th, 2014 12:29 pm

Dear Barbara and Mary,

You have my condolences on the death of your father, Tom.

I have fond memories of playing golf with him on Skidaway Island many year ago.

You can be proud of his long, busy life.

Shirley Habecker Ranck

Condolence from Judy (Short) Haiges on October 5th, 2014 5:09 pm

Dear Barb and Mary,

On behalf of my father, Ed Short, I want to express our condolences on the passing of your dad. He and my dad were good friends through the years and had many fun times together at the Tucquan Club. I know my dad considered him a true friend. You and your families are in our prayers.

Condolence from M. Eugene Hannum on October 7th, 2014 7:56 pm

Audrey and I send condolences on Toms passing. He had a full rewarding life with a loving family and very close friends. His advice, going way back, improved my golf tremendously. You all are in our prayers. Gene Hannum

Condolence from Jim Eshleman on October 7th, 2014 10:55 pm

You probably don’t remember me but I consider your father to have been a dear friend even though we haven’t been in touch in recent years. Regretably, I will not be able to attend the services but I do want to express my sincere condolences to you and yoiur family.

Jim Eshleman

Condolence from Dottie Hershberger on October 9th, 2014 11:21 pm

Dear Barbara and Mary,
Tom was a very caring and generous person. He was devoted to causes that made a difference in many people’s lives. May you remember him for these wonderful qualities.
A cousin,

Condolence from JAMES L. MASON on November 30th, 2014 8:53 pm

It is with sadness that I have been informed of the passing of Tom. He was a valued partner of my father in the operation of Tagcraft Corporaton.

Condolence from Bob Furgione, Pine Valley Golf Club on February 3rd, 2015 1:04 am

I worked at the Pine Valley Golf Club for many years 1971-2006 and it was always a pleasure to have Tom visit us especially during the Amish Open. He was a wonderful man and friend to all of us who knew him.
Sincerest condolences to the family on your loss.

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