Thomas A. McCoy, 32, played with local handbell chorus

November 03, 1995|By Dewitt Bliss | Dewitt Bliss,SUN STAFF

Thomas A. McCoy, a member of a handbell chorus called The Bell Stars and participant in races and basketball throws in the Special Olympics, died Tuesday of kidney failure at his home in Timonium.

Mr. McCoy, who had Down syndrome, was 32 and had been known as Sam since childhood. The Baltimore native attended the Ridge School in Ruxton and then the Chimes Day Habilitation Center.

He was especially fond of music, withdrawing tape recordings ++ on weekly trips to the Baltimore County Library and maintaining his own collection of tapes and recordings from which he could pick specific selections without being able to read the labels.

Doris Ashmore, a friend of the family and principal of the School of the Chimes, said yesterday that she had known Mr. McCoy since he was a little boy and "had the pleasure of working with him" in the late 1980s as part of her work toward a master's degree at the Johns Hopkins University.

She said she helped to teach him to shave with an electric razor, a skill he mastered, though he needed supervision.

Ms. Ashmore added, "He was such a joy to work with, very receptive, always ready and eager to learn." She praised his "wonderful spirit," explaining he was always willing to try things. "He was someone you could connect with," she said. He would remember her in a casual meeting even after several years.

R. Thomas McCoy, Mr. McCoy's father, yesterday described him as a "loveable guy" whose relatives were coming from as far away as California and Florida for the funeral services being held at 11 a.m. today at the Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road in Timonium.

He is survived by his parents, Martha A. and Mr. McCoy; two brothers, Richard T. McCoy III of Pittsburgh and George M. McCoy of Essex; a sister, Elizabeth V. Ruff of West Chester, Pa.; three nieces and five nephews.

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