Thomas Earl Lemley passed away at the age of 81 on July 19, 2010 at his home in Torrance with his wife, Donna and daughter Susan by his side. Thomas was born on October 5, 1928 in New Martinsville, West Virginia. After graduating High School, enlisted in the US Army, served during World War II and upon discharge landed in Taft, California where he met his wife in the local pool hall. Graduated from Taft Jr. College, continued his education and graduated from Fresno State with a teaching degree in Industrial Arts. Tom started his teaching career at Monroe Jr. High School in Inglewood, teaching wood shop since the inception of Aviation High School until it closed and finally retiring in 1988 while teaching at RUHS. He enjoyed his students and loved working with wood. It was later that he retired from Sears Svc Ctr., having worked part time for over 40 years. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Donna; his son Dale and a daughter Susan; Lambchop; two grandsons, Zebulon (Rachel) and Zachary; also a sister Joretta Tallman (Homer), sister in law Dorlee Taylor and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Friday, August 20th at 2:00 p.m. at Rice Mortuary, 5310 Torrance Blvd., in Torrance. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

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  1. My heart goes out to donna,susan,dale,and family.I’ll never forget you Tom.My neighbor,my friend.I know your your free a better place.I’ll miss you much.All the memories are the best.>>>>>Love:Rick bower

  2. I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. ~ Leo Buscaglia Grandpa Tom will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

  3. Donna, Susan and Dale, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved Uncle Tom like a Dad. I have very fond memories of your father. He was a very important person in my life. I always say that your mom and dad saved me (Dale, I will never forget our friendship back then). Don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for your family. One of my memories is your dad laying tile in the duplex I lived in in Redondo Beach. It was hot in that little hallway, but with sweat pouring off his face, he stayed until he finished it Of course, among other things, he did alot for me. I also remember one time I was cut off by this old lady and her husband while in my car in a parking lot, I got mad and flipped them off. They chased me and stood at the car pulling my hair threating to beat me up. I finally got away from them, so I thought, so then I was so frightend I drove to your house. Your dad listened to me while I told him what happened, crying and very upset. He kinda laughed a little, got up then said he did that to someone for doing the same thing to him!!!!! I have never done that to anyone again. He helped me learn a lesson that day. I was very glad that he got to meet my son when he was around 6 or 7, Amanda was a baby (I think). Uncle Tom treated Chris like his other grandson. Uncle Tom was the best and I have been very blessed to have had him in my life.

  4. To our “Santa”, You have meant so much to our family – beginning with my father at the inception of Aviation High and continuing on to being a “Santa” for my sons. We will never forget those things. I cannot think of a finer man. We will surely miss you my friend. Chip Browning and family.

  5. Mr. Lemley was a wonderful man. A great teacher and an excellent Santa. I will hear his voice in my head for the rest of my life. I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I’m going to miss “our” Santa. I will cherish those memories forever.

  7. so sorry to hear about uncle tommy, our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. i know that he is now in a better place, looking down at all of us and being at peace. we will be thinking of you all on the 20th at his memorial service.

  8. Tom was one of the finest people I’ve known. I learned so much about my grandfather through his stories, which always began with Tom saying, “You know, your grandfather……..” That meant a lot to me, since I never knew him. I always had the imression he and Grandpa were best friends since he spoke so highly of him. I haven’t seen Tom for a while, but I’m sure gonna miss knowing he’s around. Donna, my family’s thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  9. We are glad we were able to meet Tom last summer, he was a great guy. We are very sorry for your loss, you are in our thoughts. Terry and Cassandra Cordova

  10. God looked around his garden and found an empty place He then looked down upon the Earth and saw your tired face He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest With the help of his angels they flew you to your heavenly place Gods garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best He knew you were suffering, he knew you were in pain He knew that you would never get well on Earth again He saw the road was getting rough and the hills too hard to climb He closed your weary eyelids and whispered “Peace be Thine” It broke our hearts to lose you but you didn’t go alone For part of us went with you the day God called you home ~~Author unknown

  11. Donna and family, I was so sorry to hear about Tom passing away. I have so many great memories of both of you and your children. To this day I still have my two booties on my dresser. You are in my prayers. Love Jody

  12. I have many memories of Uncle Tom — Santa Claus, my cedar hope chest, and stories about Fresno (where we both went to college many years apart). As Uncle Tom started forgetting recent events, he still remembered giving me driving lessons. While I had my learner’s permit in 1976, he was teaching driver’s education classes. Uncle Tom patiently helped me with 3 point turns and parallel parking. I passed my test on my 16th birthday. He will always be in my heart.

  13. Donna and Family, I’m so sorry to hear about Tom. I will always remember him as my “Santa” growing up. He will be missed so very much. Love to all of you, Laurie Uyeda and family

  14. i remember tom as not only santa claus during my childhood but also as my brothers wood shop teacher and a great friend to my grandpa. thank you for all the amazing memories greg browning

  15. My deepest symthpathy for your loss. I have wonderful, wonderful memories of Mr. Lemley dressing up like Santa and coming to our house on Cadison

  16. Dear Donna and family, Tom was my master teacher at Aviation High when I did my student teaching in the fall of 1969. It seems like it was just yesterday. My wife Ellen of 42 years, passed away March 18 from ovarian cancer, so I understand the burden of grief that has been laid on your family. One thing I have learned from my grief is that by facing it head on, the journey becomes more bearable as time passes and your great memories of Tom will carry you through. I still have the porcelain baby shoes you made for my children, Scott and Robyn(now 40 and 37!) when they were born. It is a great memory for me of my frienship with Tom. I taught woodworking and drafting at El Segundo from 1970-1980 and then became a builder and general contractor. I learned a great deal from Tom about patience and how to deal with my students and now some of my former students are my sub-contractors. I am so sorry for your loss.. sincerely David Garinger

  17. I remember working with Tom at the Sears Service Center in Torrance. He worked with Ron Curtis, Don Krahulik, Lance Bowling, Mary Campbell and many, many others too numerous to count. Working the parts counter at night when the Service Techs came in, turning in their routes, ordering parts and picking up parts and routes for the next day Tom was always jovial, helpful and always had a good word for everyone. Even though I had not seen Tom for many, many years I will always remember him. He will always be in our memories. Warmest Regards, Vicki Vorhies

  18. Donna and family, I am so sorry to hear about Tom.I can still see Tom outside JCPenney with Lambchop waiting for you Donna. I have never met two people that have a heart as gold as you and Tom. Always willing to help others. Thank you for letting me and my family be a part of your life.Tom you will be missed!

  19. Dear Donna & Family, Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Working with Donna at JCP, I soon learned that Tom was our “happy little go getter”. Tom, we need this or Tom, we need that and Tom was always right there with whatever we needed. Thank you both for so graciously allowing me to stay in your home until I retired. Tom was so happy to have a coffee partner in the morning before I went to work. Thanks for all the very fond memories, Tom. You will so be missed.

  20. Su and Donna I am so sorry for your loss. Have hope in tomorrow, have faith in the everlasting, and take comfort in the love of friends and family. May God’s love make your grief bearable. Sara M. Navarro

  21. To Susan and Donna, We are so sorry to hear about your loss. My family and i have many wonderful memories of when Tom and Donna attended our parties. Tom was a very kind- hearted man and was willing to do anything for anyone. His kindness and generosity will never be forgotten. Our prayers go out to you and your family. sincerely, Henry, Alicia, and the girls.

  22. I have spent alot of time with Thomas’s grandsons, Zeb and Zack, that I too have come to call him grandpa. I have spent alot of time thinking of him over the past ten years since Zeb and I have graduated high school. I know now that Thomas is in a better place and the world is a better place because of him. Rest in peace Grandpa Lemley. Jason Jensen

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