Alfred Thomas Tomerlin, Jr., 92, of Columbia South Carolina, was singing “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior” when he was lifted into God’s hands forever on October 3, 2021.
He was born to parents Alfred T. Tomerlin, Sr. and Evelyn Ruth Mowry Tomerlin on March 24, 1929 in Homestead, Florida.
Al graduated from Homestead High School in 1947 where he was a member of the swim & dive teams. In 1951, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Science degree. Other higher education accomplishments included Central Florida University (1972-76) “group major” for biology, chemistry, psychology, guidance & counseling, and statistical evaluation.
On November 23, 1952, Alfred married his sweetheart, Betty Alvanell Meeks of Vero Beach, Florida while he was serving in the United States Navy. He served from 1951-1955 and was honorably discharged at the rank of HM1/C First Class. He was a high school teacher (1955-57) with instruction in the biological sciences.
Settling in Casselberry, Florida in 1958 he started his longtime career as Agriculture Research Technician specializing in nematology for the Department of Agriculture. Important publications written and co-written during 1970-1976 include: Influence of Various Ecological Factors on Survival of Tylenchulus.semipenetrans (1970); Population Fluctuation of 3 Nemas (combinations) in Florida Citrus (1972); Effect of Radopholus.similis) and Pratylenchus.brachyurus on Citrus Seedlings in Three Soils (first published correlation of perennial root weight with LOG nema population)(1974); Comparative Influence of Radopholus.similis and Pratylenchus.brachyurus on Citrus; Penetration of 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane in a Florida Soil; July 1975 Journal of Nematology, Vol. 7, No. 3; Studies on Soil Penetration of Fumigants for the Control of the Burrowing Nematode (Radopholus.similis)(1975); Comparison of 5 Strains of Tylenchulus.semipenetrans to Citrus, Poncirus & their Hybrids (1976).
In 1977, the family moved to Columbia, South Carolina where his career changed from horticulture to statistician until retiring in April 1984. At that time, Al and Betty began plans to build their home in the woods near Ridgeway, South Carolina.
Al was witty and often said “love you front and back” to which one could reply “and I love you top to bottom or inside & out”. He was forever whistling bird calls, and was often found outside in the garden, watering the grass and plants or just walking about marking specific hardwood trees. Al made woodworking gifts and built significant pieces of furniture for their home. He soon bought a black powder rifle, made a few deer stands, then went off in the very early morning to hunt. Later, in his spare time, Al was digging up family tree relationships and loved to share new stories.
Al was a dedicated and loving Father, giving life to six children. Throughout his life, he witnessed and gave testimony to our Lord. For many years Al was active in church as board of trustee, Sunday school teacher, member of church choir, men’s softball team, men’s quartet, men’s group, local & international mission outreach, and other charitable acts in the community.
Throughout his life’s journey, he made many dear and close friends whom he cherished. Al is survived by his daughters- Ramona, Gretchen, Rebecca, Kristina, Priscilla, brother-in-law-Travis Rooks, nephew-Michael Rooks; nieces- Trudy Baxley Elliott, Karen Baxley Grayson; and Sandra Baxley.
Ramona & Bruce Harlow; Charlie & Jen Harlow, Heather Harlow; Tara Harlow & Michael Saunders, Teddy Saunders, Stella Saunders; Tatti Harlow & Robert Stinnette, Abigail Stinnette; Autumn Stinnette & Ted Rice, Aria Rice, Traitin Rice; Tucker Harlow; Jessica Harlow, Holly Harlow, and Iris Sink.
Gretchen & Robert Bruce Blackstone; Brittany Lauren & Jonathan Steele, Rebecca, Samuel, Rachel, David, and Benjamin Steele.
Rebecca & John Bender; Scott Thomas & Ashley Bender, Aiden, Caleb, Ethan, Stella Bender; and Melissa Bender.
Kristina & Jeff Jones; Amie Brooks & Michael Tallisig Trumpo, Michael Jones Trumpo, and Micaiah Jones Trumpo.
Priscilla & Ruben Lopez; Alvanell Rafaela & Skylar Thiel; and Winston Alexander Lopez.
Alfred was predeceased by his wife- Betty Alvanell Meeks Tomerlin; son- David Alfred Tomerlin, and grandsons- Justin Keith Weyland and Aaron Dale Jones; parents- Alfred T. Tomerlin, Sr. and Evelyn Ruth Mowry Tomerlin; sisters- Helen Tomerlin Baxley Curlee; Ruth Elsie Tomerlin Rooks; brother-in-law- Carl B. Baxley; nephew- Brian Baxley.
In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to contribute to the outreach missions in memory of Alfred Tomerlin may contact Astatula Baptist Church / Trumpo Philippine Missions / 13239 Florida Avenue, Post Office Box 141 / Astatula, Florida 34705. Please make a copy of the check, no tax receipt will be sent from the church.
Thank you to Mr. Norris (Al’s roommate) for his loving friendship to Alfred and his daughters. Thank you staff at OPUS Post-Acute Rehabilitation and to Amedisys staff for their devoted hospice care to Alfred and support to his family.
A private memorial service will be held at the church and then later the internment service at Fort Jackson National Cemetery, 4170 Percival Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29229. Columbarium: 17, Niche: D-1
Barr-Price Funeral Home and Crematorium, Lexington Chapel, is assisting the family.
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