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Friday, April 19, 2024

Thomas Appleby Stearns

Thomas Appleby Stearns
Thomas Appleby Stearns

Thomas Appleby Stearns
May 3, 1939 – February 14, 2024

Thomas (Tommy) Appleby Stearns, of Ocala, passed away at the age of 84 surrounded by his loved ones. After a distinguished 32-year tenure as General Manager of a renowned soft drink company in Bermuda, Tommy retired to Florida—a haven where he could indulge in his passion for golf. His love for the sport was profound, leading him to grace some of the most illustrious golf courses around the globe.

Tommy’s life was marked by achievement and zest. In his youth, as a college student, he was not only academically inclined but also excelled in athletics, playing professionally for the New York Cosmos soccer team. His athletic prowess was further demonstrated through his world-class diving skills, affirming his status as a true all-around sportsman.

His dedication to community service was unwavering. He was a proud member of Rotary International, a dynamic presence in the Lion’s Club, and an active participant in the Jaycees of Bermuda. He also contributed his leadership skills to Hotels International, and his guidance to the Boy Scouts of Bermuda reflected his passion for empowering youth.

Tommy’s influence extended beyond professional and community realms; he was an active and involved parent and relished the joys of fatherhood and being a grandfather.

A connoisseur of fine wines, Tommy’s appreciation for the subtleties of vineyards mirrored his approach to life—savoring each moment and nuance with a connoisseur’s passion. His legacy is carried on by his devoted wife of 33 years, Lela Stearns; children Mark Stearns (Margie) and Kim Stearns Morbey; step-children Shawndy Elam (Ryan) and Stephen Caudill (Desi); and his many grandchildren who brought him immeasurable joy.

Predeceased by his parents William & Jane Stearns and stepdaughter Deborah Fox, Tommy leaves behind a life rich in experiences and achievements. A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. Thomas Appleby Stearns will be remembered not just for his successes but for the warmth and spirited life he shared with all who knew him.