First Responders 07

Thomas Joseph Tierney, Jr.

July 3, 1932 ~ December 31, 2021 (age 89)

Obituary Image


Thomas J. Tierney, Jr., age 89 of Forest Park, Georgia passed away on Friday, December 31, 2021 after a short illness.

Tom was born in Nashua NH, on July 3, 1932 the son of the late Thomas J. and Sophie Cutler Tierney.  He is the oldest of six children of whom two survive him, K. Wanda Makela and Judith Gillogly. He is predeceased by his brothers and sister; John Tierney, Paul Tierney, and Patricia Sawtelle.

He grew up in Pepperell MA and graduated from Pepperell High School in 1950.  He was lucky enough to go to high school with his own mother while she completed her high school education and I hear that his Dad liked to make surprise visits to the high school to sit at the back of the class to check on attendance.  Tom spent a lot of time hanging out with Jim Dunn up at the farm. He also enjoyed skiing and learning to play the trombone and attending the Fireman’s Musters.  

Tom’s military/musical career started in 1950 with the NH Army National Guard playing the trombone.  He was in Active duty in the Army from 1952-1955.  From ‘52-’53 in the 86th Army Band and then transferred to the Governors Island Army Band in NY from ‘53-’55.  He returned to the NH Army National Guard from 1955-1981. Tom continued his career in the GA Air National Guard from 1981 until his retirement in 1992. 

In Tom’s outstanding military career, he received 7 Exceptional Performance Awards.  He also received 4 Letters of Appreciation and was the Nominee for Supervisor of the Year.  
While in the Army Tom received the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.  In the Air Force National Guard he received the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.  In the Army National Guard he received the 2 Armed Forces Reserve Medal and 2 Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals.   

Tom worked in the fire fighting industry from 1969-1981:  firefighter in Chelsea MA, Fire Inspector in Fort Devens MA, and finishing at the top as Fire Chief at Fort McPherson, GA.  When Tom moved to GA he met his long time love Beverly O’Neal.  Tom retired from Fort McPherson, GA in 1992.  During this tenure he was stationed in Korea as the Department of the Army Fire Chief for 2 years, 1988-1990.  It was one of the most memorable times of his life and he spoke of it often. Tom was also a lifetime member of the Pepperell MA Fire Department.  

Tom did not slow down in retirement. He was very active with his antique race car The Kominsky Offy. Tom and Bev traveled around the country racing with his antique racing group. They also made many trips home to visit family and attend the Fire Department Christmas party and the Fireman’s Muster every year. Tom continued to play his trombone in the Peachtree Jazz edition swing band. He also was a lifetime fan of steam trains. Tom and Bev would go on many excursions to ride and observe trains all over the country.  


Survivors include his loving partner of 40 years, Beverly O’Neal and his sisters K. Wanda Makela and Judith Gillogly.  His son David McPartlan, two daughters Karen and Mary Tierney, two step daughters Angie Brewer and Robin Roache. He has 12 grandchildren: David McPartlan Jr and Bridget McPartlan, Josh and Adam Cregg, Corey Starr, Kelley Santiago, Jacob and Gregory Giguere, Kristen Brown, Amber Dean, Jessica Archer, and Jay Brewer along with 13 great grandchildren; John, Ella, Jace and Leah Starr, Riley and Cooper Santiago, Nathan Schattell, Aiden and Aubrey Brown, Emilia, Harper, and Maisie Dean and Ansley Archer.  He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and affectionately known as UT.  

Visiting hours will be held in the McGaffigan Funeral Home, 37 Main St. (Rte. 113) Pepperell, MA on Thursday, January 13th from 5 - 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Grace worshipping at St. Joseph's Church, 28 Tarbell St. Pepperell, MA on Friday, January 14th at 10 a.m. To view a livestream, please see www.HarborView.Live at the time of the Funeral Mass. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider a donation to the Pepperell Fire Department Association, PO Box 464, Pepperell MA 01463 or a donation to the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, 2575 Chantilly Dr, Atlanta, GA 30324






To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Joseph Tierney, Jr., please visit our floral store.


January 13, 2022

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
McGaffigan Family Funeral Home
37 Main St. (Rte 113)
Pepperell, MA 01463

Mass of Christian Burial
January 14, 2022

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Grace Parish worshipping at St. Joseph's Church
28 Tarbell Street
Pepperell, MA 01463

© 2022 McGaffigan Family Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy