Thomas Cawley

Thomas P. Cawley

Sunday, July 28th, 1946 - Friday, February 7th, 2020
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Tom Cawley, owner of Cawley’s Aviation Service, passed away February 7, 2020, after a short battle with cancer.
Born in Endicott, NY, in 1946, he learned to walk on the grass behind the hangar at Tri-Cities Airport where his father was a flight instructor. And so it all started… His parents, Cliff and Polly Cawley, moved to Poughkeepsie in 1949 when Cliff got a job as a flight instructor at the Dutchess County Airport. Tom attended the Arlington School district for all but his senior year which he completed at Marlboro High School. He graduated in 1965.
Tom’s log books start in November 1958. He was a student pilot in gliders in 1960, soloed in a J-3 Cub on his sixteenth birthday in 1962, a year later earned his private pilot single engine land. In 1965 he earned his private multi-engine rating in August, his Commercial pilot license in September, and then enlisted in the Army in December and served for two years. Tom was a hydraulics specialist on CH47 helicopters.
After the Army, mechanics and pilots ratings just kept coming: instrument, power plant mechanic, airframe mechanic, commercial helicopter, Inspector Authorization, Airline Transport Pilot, flight instructor, instrument instructor and more. But Tom was always learning, listening, reading about aviation. He enjoyed the history of aviation. He wanted to know the why and how of everything about aircraft and the engines that powered them. The depth and breadth of his knowledge was astonishing.
Tom worked at several Hudson Valley airports over the years including Kobelt’s in Wallkill, Stormville, and the Dutchess County Airport. In 1985 Tom established his presence at Sky Acres Airport with his FAA Certified Aircraft Repair Station.
In January 2015, Tom received both the “Wright Brothers Master Pilot” and “Charles Taylor Master Mechanic” awards from the FAA. Both awards require 50 years of safe service in the profession.
Tom had the smoothness of a Beechcraft King Air, the quirkiness of a Pilatus PC-6, with the thundering heart of a Stearman.
Along the way in his tremendous career Tom gained hundreds of friends. He was a generous man with a kind heart. He is survived by his sister, Barbara C. Rankin of Poughkeepsie, and his cat, Lola.
Visitation will be Sunday, February 16, 2020 from 2-6PM at the Wm. G. Miller & Son FH, Inc., 371 Hooker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. A time for memories will begin at 5PM in the Funeral Home. If you wish to send an online condolence please visit our website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the volunteer services department at the VA hospital at Castle Point. Make the check payable to "VA Hudson Valley HCS" in the memo portion of the check: in memory of Thomas Cawley Mailing address: VA Hudson Valley HCS, Dept. of Voluntary Services, 41 Castle Point Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, February 16th, 2020 | 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, February 16th, 2020 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Wm. G. Miller & Son F.H. ,Inc.
    371 Hooker Ave.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Sunday, February 16th, 2020 | 5:00pm
    Sunday, February 16th, 2020 5:00pm
    Wm. G. Miller & Son F.H. ,Inc.
    371 Hooker Ave.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Memories shared at 5:00PM in the funeral home during visitation.


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Diane Paulsen

Posted at 01:08am
I met Tom when I first got involved with flying and kept my 172 on the grass tie down at Sky Acres Airport. His shop repaired a piece of equipment. I even flew with him a few times just for fun. He had a nice demeanor about him and a sense of humor. He even invited me to take a ride on a Porter at POU as he was training someone in the military how to fly it. It was an amazing machine. I always liked to pop in on occasion to see what he would be working on in his shop. He was very upset when he lost his beloved cat Rain. TC keep souring the blue skies. You will always be fondly remembered by the flying community. You were truly one of a kind and will be sadly missed.

Don Krajicek

Posted at 10:41am
I was fresh out of the Army in 1977 when I met "TC". He gave me a job in his shop at Kobelt for which I have always been grateful, but more importantly, I met a man who was truly a great human being. That winter was a rough one as I remember, so I was surprised when "TC" announced he was going to Sarasota to pick up the Pepsie-Cola Travel Air, open air biplane skywriter and bring it back for an annual. When he arrived back at Kobelt with the biplane, we pushed it into the hangar and after a few minutes he grabbed a knife and slit the ceconite on a lower wing. The outboard section of a lower wing spar drooped. The spar was broken. He knew it. He flew it. Just another day at the office for "TC". At that moment it became clear to me that this guy was a little...different. Different in the best way possible. You are sorely missed "TC". CAVU from now on.

Posted at 08:41pm
There's a handful of active military special operations pilots stationed in NC that had the privilege of flying with 'TC'. He taught us to fly all over again by running the gauntlet out of Sky Acres. Flying the mighty Porter was second nature to Tom as he schooled many professional pilots with thousands of hours flying around the globe. We landed uphill, downhill, on ice, over logs...nothing was insurmountable for Tom, we called it graduate level flying. But Tom also took time with each individual to get to know us and appreciate where we came from, he was such a humble man, his calm demeanor, jolly personality and ninja like pilot skills demanded respect from all of us. He taught me humility, how to have fun in the Porter, and, "...if it ain't repeatable, you didn't get it..."! He's indirectly had a significant impact on the battlefield and responsible for the demise of countless terrorists over the last two decades but more importantly he's made such an impact on the few of us that had the honor to fly with TC...he's a legend among giants and will be sorely missed, God Speed TC.

Sue Lason

Posted at 02:47pm
With heartfelt condolences,
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Thomas Cawley — Plant a Tree Now

wayne e girard

Posted at 09:49am
Please accept my condolences,
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Thomas Cawley — Plant a Tree Now

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