Lebanon, New Hampshire
Details of services
Funeral services are planned for September 2023; burial will take place at the Vermont Veteran’s Cemetary in Randolph, VT
Thomas Raymond Agan, 89, went to be with the Lord on November 4, 2022, after a brief illness.
Born November 12, 1932 to Mercedes (Bennett) and Raymond Agan in Lebanon, NH, he was the oldest of two children and adored his younger sister Nancy (Barber). He grew up in the midst of the Great Depression and World War II but was fortunate that both of his parents worked. He was a bit of a daredevil as a child and model airplane building, especially fighter planes, was one of his first hobbies. It was not uncommon for him to climb to the roof of their West Street home in Lebanon, attach a gasoline soaked rag to the tail, light the rag on fire and throw the burning plane off the roof. He loved telling this story and said it was a miracle that the neighborhood never caught on fire.
He excelled at skiing while at Lebanon High School and took his talents to Dartmouth College. Self-admittedly, he liked to ski more than he liked to study and part way through his sophomore year, it was suggested by one of his professors that he go away for a little while so he could grow up. He was encouraged to join the service. He joined the United States Air Force in July 1952, spending one year in Texas and three years at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho; not a bad place to be for someone who loved skiing. He worked on a flight line and he loved nothing more than to have pilots fly over Sun Valley and bring him back a snow report. He frequently shared stories of skiing with national and international Olympians at Sun Valley. He said they skied circles around him and he loved it. But he really was a fantastic skier, in fact so good that he had orders come from the Pentagon that sent him to Lake Placid for Olympic tryouts. He would say he was never that good; having skied with him growing up, he was definitely that good. He excelled at alpine, cross country and jumping. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in July 1956, returned to Dartmouth and graduated in 1958.
On December 27, 1958 he married his grade school sweetheart, Ellen (Kingsbury). After a trip to Seattle with the possibility of starting graduate school, they settled in Paul Smith’s, NY. Thomas began a 25 year teaching career at Paul Smith’s College where he taught, among other things, History and Government and Politics. He coached the ski team for several years and later served as President of the local school board. It was at Paul Smith’s that he and Ellen raised their children–daughters Cathy and Kelly and son Christopher. He exposed them to outdoor interests like hiking, fishing and skiing. They still participate in those activities to this day thanks to him. In the midst of helping raise a family, he received his Master’s Degree in History from the University of New Hampshire and his Doctorate in History from the State University of New York at Albany.
In June 1985, Thomas retired from teaching and he and Ellen returned to the upper valley of New Hampshire. Thomas was a bit of a renaissance man after his teaching days were done. He got his real estate license and worked in that field for several years. His last job was supervisor of the Reserve Reading Desk at Baker Library at Dartmouth College. He also learned construction from his brother-in-law, Robert Barber. Together, they built a home for Ellen and himself on French Pond in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Robert was a chiropractor; often Thomas and Robert would joke that they should open a construction business and call it Pair-A-Docs Construction.
Thomas was an avid runner, skier and hiker. He started running before the running craze really became a thing. He ran several marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice in the 1970’s.
He was fortunate enough to run alongside the Olympic Torch when the Winter Olympics returned to Lake Placid in February 1980. He loved hiking, especially in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He helped to instill in his children a love of the outdoors. He took Cathy up the Jewell Trail to the summit of Mt. Washington. He took his son Chris to the summit by way of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and Tuckerman’s Ravine.
He slowed down physically after bi-lateral hip replacement in the spring of 2008 but he never lost his good attitude and outlook on life. It didn’t matter what physical challenges he dealt with in the last few years of his life. He was genuinely thankful and grateful for everything right up until the very end. He adored his wife Ellen and loved her more each day until the day he passed. She was his principal caregiver over the last few years and she did an amazing job until his needs became too great; they moved into assisted living earlier this fall. Cathy and Chris did what Ellen couldn’t; they accompanied him to all his doctor appointments, took them shopping and helped them navigate a new world when they moved to South Burlington, Vermont in the Fall of 2019. He loved to give them $20 or $30 for gas or takeout and was fond of saying, “Until you’re better paid.”
Thomas is survived by his devoted wife Ellen of almost 64 years; his children Cathy (Greg) Yandow, Christopher (Heidi) Agan and Kelly Stoneman; his sister Nancy Barber; grandchildren Shannon Yandow, Mackenzie (Jodi) Yandow, Ryan (Olivia) Agan, Devon Agan, and Olivia Stoneman; great granddaughter Sophia Agan; nieces MaryEllen (Chris) Hemeon, Kathy Langlois and Abigail (Artie) Tighe; nephews and niece from Ellen’s family Kevin (Pam) Corrigan, Andrew (Trish) Corrigan and Sarah Corrigan Suggs.
In lieu of flowers, Thomas would like contributions made on his behalf to any of the following: VT Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital or Wounded Warrior.