US Air Force

Thomas Evan Ricketts

May 23, 2023


Thomas Evan Ricketts 81, of Soddy Daisy, died May 21, 2023. He was born April 17, 1942. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ollie Pollard Ricketts and William Evan Ricketts; brothers, William (Bill) Ricketts and Gregory Ricketts. From an early age, Tom was fascinated by flight and spent his life on the flight line as a mechanic, first in the United States Air Force, and after retirement, with several different private civilian companies. His stories about ill-timed “check-rides” and maintenance misadventures were often the subject of wry conversation and revealed the joy he found in a lifetime spent making aircraft safe. He was a proud Vietnam Veteran, keeping his beloved F-4 Phantom in the skies during the conflict. During his career, he served his country stateside, in Europe, and in Southeast Asia. One of his greatest military honors was serving with the USAF fighter ace, Colonel “Gabby” Gabreski with the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing in Kadena, Okinawa, earning a much-cherished personal letter for his efforts to support the ace pilot. He often noted humorously that this single letter was key to his steady and continuous advancement as a Non-Commissioned Officer throughout his career, contributing to his retirement as a Master Sergeant after 27 years in the Air Force. 

Tom’s passions included traditional bow making and archery which he introduced to each of his children and grandchildren as soon as they were old enough to pull a string and aim down range. He loved the outdoors, trekking to the Smokies and East Tennessee and the mountains of North Carolina to pan for gold and explore the creek beds all in pursuit of his dream to go west and live the life of a frontier prospector. He loved to walk in Soddy Gulf with his brothers and family as he and his friends had done so often when he was young, finding peace in the forests surrounding Soddy Daisy.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Linda Varner Ricketts; daughter, Heather (Pete) Wolfe; son, Randall (Daniela) Ricketts: cherished grandchildren Sebastian, Benjamin, and Charlotte Ricketts; many nephews, nieces, extended family and lifelong friends.

Our sincere thanks to Norman Varner for his dedicated assistance during Tom’s illness. 

A date for a memorial service will be announced at a later time.

Tom’s family requests in his memory and in lieu of flowers, you thank a military veteran for their service.

Condolences and memories may be shared at Arrangements are by Williamson and Sons Funeral Home, 8852 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379.

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