---- — Mr. Thomas Lee Solomon, of Universal, Ind., passed away Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, surrounded by family. He was a former resident of Terre Haute, and was a son of the now late Mike Solomon and Frances Rozina-Solomon.
Mr. Solomon is survived by his son, J.T. (Nikki) Solomon; his daughter, Melissa (Warren) Mattson; brother, Bob (Marilyn) Solomon; his sister, Mary Mandich; grandchildren, Drew and Paige Solomon, Sidnee Randle Solomon, Brooke and Rebecca Mattson; brother-in-law, Avery Gose; sister-in-law, Josie Solomon; and several nieces and nephews.
He was previously married to Sandra K. Martin.
He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Olivia Solomon; sister, Jennie Gose; brothers, Mike Solomon Jr. and John Solomon; and brother-in-law, Mike Mandich.
Mr. Solomon graduated from Clinton High School in 1959, and from Indiana University in 1964 with a degree in education. He later went on to receive a master’s degree from Indiana State University. He worked as a middle school teacher, driver’s education instructor and coach for more than 40 years. He taught at both the middle school and high school levels. He started his teaching career at North Vermillion Schools and went on to teach and coach at Greencastle, Union City, Western Boone, and finished his career and retired from South Vermillion Middle School in 2001.
He had a love for sports. He was a three-sport standout athlete at Clinton High School, playing football, baseball and basketball. He went to Indiana University on a full-ride football scholarship. Throughout his 40-year teaching career, nearly every year he coached football, baseball or wrestling. The highlights of his coaching career included an undefeated football season at Union City and coaching individual state wrestling qualifiers. He had a passion for Chicago Cubs baseball and IU Sports.
When his kids (Melissa and J.T.) were trying to talk him into moving closer to them in order for them to help take care of him, his biggest concern was he would not be able to get the TV channels: WGN (to watch the Cubs games) and the Big Ten Network (to watch IU football and basketball games).
He had a love for Elvis Presley and his music. His love was so great that he named his female cats Priscilla and Lisa Marie.
Mr. Solomon was very proud of his Serbian background and heritage. He taught his kids and grandkids several words in Serbian that are used today. The favorite is (IDEE EST EEE) which means “come to eat” in Serbian.
The grandkids affectionately called him De De. De De would come to visit his kids and grandkids (Drew, Paige, Sidnee, Rebecca and Brooke) quite often, and bring with him a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a bag of apples. He attended many of his grandkids sporting events, and would somehow make his way into the dugout or sidelines to give advice to the kids and try to coach them to victory.
Mr. Solomon was a very committed father, and was very proud of his children. He was a very humble man with a deep love for his late parents and family.
He was a member of Victory Baptist Church in Clinton.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Giovanini Funeral Home in Clinton. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the funeral home, with Pastor Larry Snyder officiating.
Memorial contributions can be made to Victory Baptist Church; envelopes will be provided at the funeral home.
Online condolences can be made at www.giovaninifuneralhome.com.