Tom Speechley, instructor of history, passed away August 8, 2011 while visiting his family in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mr. Speechley had been with the college for seven years. He came to Dawson from Oregon and was anxious to teach history at the collegiate level. During his time with us, he was a favorite of many students. His seemingly gruff exterior was coupled with a passion for his craft--he loved to teach. A battered, spiral notebook crammed with annotations, torn sheets, and stained pages accompanied him to every class. It must have been his secret weapon for bringing history to life year after year. He believed his students were worthy of a good education. He knew his investment of time preparing for class and grading exams would be part of that good education. The unique perspective and teaching style he brought to DCC was one that students may not have previously experienced. It certainly worked because students often elected to take "a Speechley" class every semester. Some even decided to major in history because of him. His passion was addictive. After his family and teaching he loved books, his military service, football, the movie Casablanca and a certain Mustang.
Tom was an avid student of military history. A proud veteran of both the U.S. Army (82nd Airborne based at Ft. Bragg, N.C) and the United States Air Force (Lackland AFB, Texas; Shaw AFB, S.C.,) he was also an Intelligence Officer during the Marcos Revolution in the Republic of the Philippines. He played college football at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts where he received his bachelors in History. He completed a Masters in History from Montana State University in Bozeman where he fell in love with the mountains, rushing trout streams, and the blue skies of Montana. He loved the ocean all his life, especially Surfside Beach, S.C. and the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon.
He is survived by his much loved daughter, Kathleen Ryan Speechley Davis and her husband, Corey, of Mathews, N.C. and his stepson, Richard Wilson of Lexington, S.C. He was grandfather to four children and a beloved brother.
His family wanted us to know that he spoke highly of his time at DCC. His Montana friendships were important to him. In turn, we at DCC want his family to know that the feeling is mutual. We will miss him.
Good bye, Mr. Speechley.