Thomas “Coach” “Slague” “Pop” James Siegel died peacefully of sarcoma cancer surrounded by his loving family on Saturday, June 30th.
Tom was born in Queens, New York on April 25th, 1956 and grew up in Revere, Massachusetts. His father George served 31 years in the U.S. Navy and Tom loved “spoiling” his “Chief” in his later years. His mother Patricia died when Tom was just 11. Even as a child, Tom showed his mother and father’s loving traits. When his mother was dying of cancer, Tom would take the subway from Revere to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston every day to bring her a coffee milk shake because that was her favorite.
Tom met his wife Cathy at the age of 17 working at Farrell’s ice cream parlor in Hawaii. Tom was head over heels in love with her and that love only grew stronger over their 38 years of marriage. Together they would raise two sons, Matthew and Joseph. Tom would often say his wedding day was the best day of his life except for the two days his sons were born. Tom was always quick to do anything for his “mums,” whether that be barbecuing his trademark steak or rewinding a live baseball game so he could explain to her what the announcers said.
An amazing father, Pop’s life revolved around his family. Everyday consisted of wiffle ball games, back yard catches, front yard football games or evenings watching the Red Sox and Giants on TV with his boys and wife. Even after his sons moved out, they were in contact with him every day. Calls and texts were placed daily and after Red Sox or Giants wins, Tom Brady touchdown passes, or just to “check in and say hi.” Pop never ended a call without saying, “I love you,” to both sons.
Tom served in the U.S. Air Force at Travis Air Force Base for four years before working at Anheuser Busch for 32 years. He was known there for his practical jokes and teasing (otherwise known as Slagues). Tom retired in 2010 but soon was working part time at TC McDaniel Elementary as a campus monitor. What many people would think of as a side job to make a little extra money, Tom didn’t see it that way at all. Tom quickly became known by parents and students alike, and for many students seeing Tom was the highlight of their day. Tom would walk them to and from their parent’s car to their class. His loving spirit knew no limits.
Coach Tom’s biggest passion was baseball and coaching. Tom started coaching at age 19 for Cal Pal. After a short hiatus when his first son was born, Tom returned to coaching baseball. He coached both sons for numerous years, and continued coaching long after both sons were done playing. His successes on the field would be too many to list (though, his proudest was his 1993 Fairfield Atlantic Little League All Star team which finished second in Northern California) but it was the connections he made with his players that were even more impactful than any win on the ballfield. Throughout his career he was a role model and mentor to hundreds of young players. Tom had a unique talent of winning (and winning a lot) and also making baseball fun without compromising one quality for the other. His brilliant baseball mind was only matched by the devotion he gave to all his players.
Once he retired from both work and coaching baseball, Tom enjoyed playing (and winning) poker tournaments at Stones Gambling Hall. Receiving texts of, “made the money” became more and more common the more he played. Tom and his wife also enjoyed visiting their sons in Boston and San Diego as well as spending time with their dog Mittzy.
Tom is survived by his loving wife, Cathy Siegel; sons, Matthew Siegel, Joseph Siegel and his wife Chenin; brothers Joe and George Siegel; sister Laurie Hodges and her husband David; as well as many beloved nephews, nieces, in-laws, and extended family.
Tom was truly larger than life…he will forever be deeply missed and he will never, ever be forgotten.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 29th at 7:00 PM at the Laurel Creek Baseball Field. All family, friends, former and current players, coaches, co-workers, poker buddies, and anyone else who was touched by Tom’s kindness and welcoming smile, we ask you to come celebrate with us (all baseball attire welcome).