Thomas Woodward Bookhart, 88

Thomas Woodward Bookhart, age 88, passed away peacefully on May 22, 2022, in Altamonte Springs, FL. He was born on August 21, 1933, at the O’Bryan family farm home in Williamsburg County, SC. He lived in several locations until the age of 9 when he moved to Kingstree, SC, which he always considered his hometown. He followed in the footsteps of 5 uncles and his older brother when he chose to attend Clemson University, at that time an all-male military college. While at Clemson, he was a member of the elite Pershing Rifles drill team and was awarded the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. This award was bestowed upon someone who had demonstrated they “excel in high ideals of living, in fine spiritual qualities, and is generous and unselfish service to others”.

He graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and shortly afterward joined the United States Air Force where he became a Navigator/Bombardier on the B-47 bomber and a 1st Lieutenant. He later would join the Air Force Reserves and serve as a Captain until leaving when he started having a family.
After serving in the Air Force, he started his career with Duke Power Company in the Engineering Department. Two years after being assigned to their Rutherfordton, NC location, he met his future wife, Carole Elliott. They would marry while he was attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Mathematics.

Upon finishing at Ga. Tech, they moved to Oak Ridge, TN where he went to work for Union Carbide and eventually Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin until his retirement in 1996. He worked at all 3 plants throughout his career in various management roles with a specific focus on complicated programming projects.

He was an active member of First United Methodist Church his entire time in Oak Ridge, chairing various committees, serving as an usher, and was an active member of the Aldersgate Sunday School Class. He also was a member of the Kiwanis Club for many years, serving as President from 1972-1973. He enjoyed classic Country and Bluegrass music, watching college football, baseball, and softball, and watching old Westerns. He was a World War II history buff, and in 2021 was able to visit, along with his daughters, the World War II Museum in New Orleans, of which he was a proud founding member.

Tom was always very involved in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He coached sports teams, led camping outings, attended every school performance, and was always the biggest cheerleader his kids and grandkids had.

During his retirement, he and Carole traveled extensively around the United States and the globe. They also purchased beach property in Garden City, SC, a lifelong dream of his, and thoroughly enjoyed their many stays at the beach, with friends and family frequently joining them.

Tom was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather and was loved by and will be missed by many.

He is survived by his daughters, Suzanne Darling and husband, Brian, of Charlotte, NC, Marianna Renfro and husband, Mac, of Chapel Hill, NC, his son, Bryan Bookhart and wife, Kelley, of Oviedo, FL, his brother, Sam Bookhart of Myrtle Beach, SC and his 8 grandchildren, Will, Wes, and Grace Darling, Mary Taylor, Brooks, and Anna Renfro, and Alyssa and Madelyn Bookhart.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Carole Elliott Bookhart.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Heart Association, Kiwanis Club of Oak Ridge, or First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge.

The family will receive friends 12:30-2 pm, Thursday, June 2, 2022, at First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge. Funeral services will be held at 2 pm with Rev. Mark Flynn officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at 3 pm at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas, please visit our floral store.

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