October 29, 1947 – November 15, 2022
Thomas Fredrick Hollingsworth III passed away on November 15, 2022, at his residence, just two weeks following his 75th birthday.
A visitation is scheduled for Friday, November 18, 2022, from 6 to 8 pm at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Crematory. The following day a Celebration of Life is scheduled for 2:00 pm Saturday, November 19, 2022, at Arkansas City High School. The Rev. Steve Rankin will officiate. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery in Enid, Oklahoma, on Monday, November 21, at 10:00 am
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Arkansas City High School Booster Club. Contributions can be made through the Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Crematory, through which the direction for arrangements are made. Online condolences can be made at www.rindt-erdman.com.
Tom was born on October 29, 1947, in Enid, Oklahoma, to Elwood Hollingsworth and Letha Fern Hollingsworth. Many of his childhood days were spent on the farms of both paternal and maternal grandparents’ when both parents were working. Tom’s love for the farm, the farm animals, and fishing and hunting in the red dirt hills laid the groundwork for his love of his native Oklahoma Sooner land. While attending Lahoma High School, Tom met his future wife, Jean Schultz, a Hillsdale High School alum, when he played summer baseball. Little did they both know that this love affair would turn into a 55-year marriage, celebrated this past September.
Tom and Jean graduated from Northwestern State College, Alva, Oklahoma. Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies and Physical Education. His first teaching job was at Arkansas City High School in 1969, teaching Social Studies on the third floor of the Old High School and Physical Education in the Auditorium Gym and “dungeon”. Here he began his life-long love of coaching! Football, basketball, and track were his first assignments, and sports he dearly loved teaching.
In 1975, Tom and Jean moved their family, which now consisted of Tim, a second-grader, and Todd, age three, to Neodesha, Kansas, where he taught and coached football, basketball and track. Three years later, they returned to USD 470, in Arkansas City. Tom continued teaching Social Science and Psychology, then moved to a Physical Education teaching assignment, continuing to coach football, basketball and track. Tom completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 1985 from Wichita State University. The two decades of 1993 to 2006, he spent in Educational Administration capacities, first as Assistant Activities Director, then as District Activities Director. Tom thoroughly enjoyed these years, working with his fellow members of the KIAAA and KSHSAA, where he served on the Board for many years.
Following retirement from USD 470, Tom began teaching at Winfield High School, coaching football and track. He was assigned the position of Assistant Activities Director and continued his coaching responsibilities. He then made the Ark Valley third-leg triangular move to Wellington Middle School, teaching 7th and 8th grade physical education and again coaching football and track, retiring after 45 years in education in 2014.
Tom thoroughly loved coaching his two sons in Little League soccer, baseball, football and track, and Tim in High School basketball. But as he was blessed with five wonderful grandchildren, traveling to all their school activity events was the highlight of his life. Papa Tom, Grandpa Tom, was even known to throw in a bit of advice from time to time for his fledglings. Musicals, dramas, madrigal performances, orchestra concerts, basketball games, and track meets put him back in the bleachers for sheer enjoyment! Bleachers of another sort were a life-long love for this man of God’s Country. Tom loved his Oklahoma Sooners, attending many athletic events over the past 27 years, but his favorite was OU football, as his closet and hat collection would quickly reveal. He spent many hours online during his last years of retirement, reading about and researching about his favorite team.
Tom’s quick, broad smile and a “story” he remembered from his past, working with his family of USD 470, will not long be forgotten. Three generations of students, their parents, and grandparents all have stories themselves about their teacher, coach, and friend.
Tom is survived by his wife, Jean, of the home; his sons, Tim Hollingsworth and wife, Michele, of Peoria, Illinois, and Todd Hollingsworth of Maize, Kansas. He was a devoted grandfather to Brittney, Zach, and Nathaniel Hollingsworth of Peoria, Illinois, and Amanda and Lukas Hollingsworth of Maize, Kansas.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, Elwood and Letha; his wife Jean’s parents, Harry and Ella Mae; his paternal and maternal grandparents; and his favorite pets, Prince and Boomer.
Thomas Hollingsworth III | Obituary
October 29, 1947 – November 15, 2022