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THOMAS HORST BAMFORD

Born: April 3, 1940
Died: February 17, 2010

Thomas H. Bamford was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, son of James B. and Mabel Hart Bamford. He prepared for Yale at Reading High School.

At Yale Tom was a resident of Pierson College. His freshman year roommates were Michael Gill, who later joined the Class of 1963, and Charles G. Uznikian, who has since legally changed his name to Charles Nickson. Tom left Yale after sophomore year, returning to Pennsylvania where he obtained his B.A. from Albright College in 1962.

Tom also received a business degree in marketing from Northwestern University School of Banking in 1970. He served in the Air Force Reserve after college.

Tom settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and went on to a noteworthy career in banking and community service. A public relations specialist, he worked in the banking industry for 27 years. He retired in 1995 as senior vice president, director of corporate communications and Lancaster area executive officer for CoreStates Bank. After retiring from the banking industry, he worked as director of community relations for Lancaster Health Alliance from 1995 until 1999. At the time of his death, he was a principal in The Franklin Consulting Group, a company providing organizational development, strategic planning and fund-raising counsel to colleges, universities and other human services groups.

Tom worked from 1963 to 1967 as director of alumni relations at Albright College, from 1967 to 1968 as director of public relations at United Community Services of Reading and Berks County, and from 1968 to 1970 as director of advertising and public relations of Reading Trust Company. He was accredited in public relations by the Philadelphia chapter of Public Relations Society of America.

Tom died February 17, 2010, after being stricken while snorkeling along the coast in Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies with his wife, Elizabeth.

While at CoreStates in the mid-1980s, Bamford created the CoreStates Pro Cycling Championship, an annual event that brings the world's top cyclists to Lancaster and Philadelphia. "As one of the race founders who worked closely with Tom, I can honestly say that he was one of the few individuals I have met in the sports sponsorship business who knew how to measure things by their intangible as well as tangible value," said Dave Chauner, chief executive officer of Pro Cycling Tour, which runs the annual cycling events. "The human values of quality, integrity, character and dedication guided his life and influenced his business decisions to the betterment of his employers and the people who had the chance to work with him. His spirit will be missed," Chauner said.

Tom Bamford had a long history of community volunteer work, beginning at age 19 when he helped develop a program for the American Red Cross that recorded messages from families to American servicemen stationed overseas. Over the years, he served as a director and past chairman of United Way of Lancaster County and the Lancaster YMCA Board and Foundation. Bamford was president and chief executive officer of Lancaster Celebration 250 in 1992. He was a director of D&E Communications Inc., Ephrata, Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership and The Lancaster Campaign. He served as vice chairman of the Louise von Hess Foundation for Medical Education. He served as a trustee at Albright College and the Lancaster Foundation for Educational Enrichment.

He was a "mentor and model to me, but not just to me," said Susan Eckert, president of United Way of Lancaster County. "Tom really embodied that tradition of a community leader. He was such a fine communicator. He could write. He could speak. His use of language was precise and careful, and that voice of his was deep and resonating." Eckert said Bamford had a unique understanding of community and communications. "He knew how to connect."

Bamford was past president of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware Chapter of the Bank Marketing Association and the Rotary Club of Lancaster. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and the Hamilton Club. Bamford was the voice of General John F. Reynolds on the taped audio tour that accompanies the bus excursion at Gettysburg Battlefield. An avid reader, he also enjoyed boating, fishing and bicycling.

Tom was married to Elizabeth Weber Bamford for 42 years on January 26, 2010. Surviving in addition to his wife are a son, Benjamin H., husband of Lisa A. Bamford of Lancaster, PA; a daughter, Amy B., wife of Patrick S. Hopkins of Lancaster, PA; four grandchildren; and his brother, Nicholas H. Bamford of Reading.

His local newspaper, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, paid him tribute in its lead editorial on February 23, 2010, entitled, "A Community Asset":

"The word "community" means, among other things, social activity marked by a feeling of unity and voluntary participation. Those words perfectly describe the late Thomas Bamford. If the name sounds only slightly familiar, it's likely because Bamford often was the man behind the scenes - organizing, delegating, reaching out to others and - most notably - encouraging people to join in.

A former senior vice president with CoreStates Bank, Bamford was involved in a host of local activities. Nonprofit and charitable organizations came to rely on his expertise. He served as a mentor to United Way officials, earning the United Way's first Volunteer of the Year award in 1983. He served on the boards of the Lancaster Campaign, the Lancaster Housing Partnership and Albright College. He was president of Lancaster Celebration 250 in 1992 when the city marked its historic birthday. Those who get involved have a vested interest in their communities. Bamford understood this. He reached out to people and they, in turn, offered a hand up for those in need. The Lancaster community is blessed to have so many people who volunteer and give of themselves to help others."


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