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Thomas Sewell Israel

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with Joan and the Israel family at this time. Tom was a wonderful friend, colleague and a good friend to all. The good...Read More »
1 of 1 | Posted by: Jerry and Ed Bernier


Thomas Sewell Israel, 85, of the Cypress died of a heart attack at home on October 19. He was born March 14, 1928 in Washington D.C. Following graduation from the D.C. public schools in 1946, he served in the U.S. Army. He then attended George Washington University, receiving a BA degree in Business Administration in 1952 and a Master's degree in Public Administration in 1956. He entered the federal government in 1953 with the Navy Department, then joined the International Cooperation Administration where he supervised foreign government officials training in the United States. He then served four years as a budget examiner in the U.S. Bureau of the Budget, after which he joined the task force which established the Community Action Program, an arm of the nation's war on poverty. Subsequently he served in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Institute of Education from which he retired in 1982. Active in public education, Tom was twice elected to the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education, serving from 1968 to 1976, and was twice its president. He later served on the county's Board of Appeals and on the board of the Mental Health Association. Tom and his wife Joan moved to Hilton Head in 1987. He was an elder at First Presbyterian Church, President of the Democratic Club South of the Broad, one of the founding members of the Country Club of Hilton Head, and a long-time volunteer with Second Helpings. He served on the town's Board of Appeals, and on the Board of the Property Owner's Association of Hilton Head Plantation. Tom and Joan were avid square, round and line dancers in Hilton Head. They also enjoyed cruising and traveling to many parts of the world. Tom and his wife Joan were happily married for 60 years. He is survived by Joan, Dr. Scott Israel of Portland Oregon (Mary); and Dr. Paul Israel of Huntsville Alabama (Karen); and a daughter Ellen Morrison of Wellesley Massachusetts (David). Also surviving are seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 27at 3 PM at First Presbyterian Church with the Reverend Douglas Fletcher officiating. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to the First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head 29928 or to Second Helpings, 20 Palmetto Parkway, Suite H, Hilton Head 29925. The Island Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. www.theislandfuneralhome.com.