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Thomas Wolfle

April 24, 1936 — June 28, 2013

Thomas Wolfle


Thomas Lee Wolfle, D.V.M., Ph.D., 77, quietly passed away in the loving arms of his family at Black Dog Farm in Cambridge, Maryland on June 28th, 2013. He was born in Eugene, Oregon on April 24th, 1936, to the late Elvid Emanuel and Alice Elizabeth (Oakley) Wolfle. During his formative years, he and his older brother Robert attended school in Oklahoma, Nevada, Washington, D.C. and Texas. After high school, he briefly attended the University of Mississippi on a track scholarship. He then obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1957 followed by his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1961 from Texas A&M University. Shortly thereafter, he entered the United States Air Force and was assigned to the Aerospace Medicine Program in San Antonio and conducted primate research on behalf of NASA involving the potential health and behavioral issues occurring during space flight. In 1966, at the behest of NASA, he entered graduate school at UCLA, where he studied comparative animal behavior and the brain mechanisms of pain. In 1970, Tom received his Doctorate in Philosophy, with distinction, and continued work in animal behavior. In 1976, he transferred his Air Force commission to the Public Health Service and moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He eventually served as Director of the Interagency Research Animal Committee. In 1988, he joined the National Academy of Sciences as Director of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources where he improved the lives of animals in research and helped train and educate those who used them. Upon leaving the National Academy of Science, Tom continued to hold memberships in numerous national and international professional organizations. He considered two of his professional highlights to be working with the early NASA primates (including HAM the first chimpanzee launched to outer space) and attaining diplomat status in both the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, of which he was a founding member.
In 1999, Tom entered a new chapter of his life when he and his wife Jackie moved to Black Dog Farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They spent as much time as possible on JuliAnna, their cruising and “gunkholing” boat, travelling the world and working on the ever-increasing gardens. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and teaching them the ways of a gentleman farmer and waterman. He was also very active in the community which included working on the Board of the Dorchester Center for the Arts, as Flotilla Commander for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and as a volunteer at the National Blackwater Wildlife Preserve. In what little free time remained, he was more than happy to volunteer as a “bartender” for friends and family.
To most he was just known as an accomplished professional, sailor and raconteur, fisherman, patron of the arts and a wise and trusted friend.

He is survived by his adoring wife of 27 years, Jackie; his sons Tom, Bill, Jim, Jeff and Jon; his grandchildren Kyle, Chase, Alex, Jack, Rick, Jeff, Rob, Kimmy, Anna, Julia and Jonathan; his brother Bob; cousins Lee, Janet and John. And his beloved dog Hunter.

There will be a private family ceremony followed by a celebration of his life on July 4th. Donations can be made in his honor to the Dorchester Center for the Arts, 321 High Street, Cambridge, Maryland 21613.
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