Thomas D. Troy Sr., an educator and former foreign-language supervisor for Baltimore's public schools, died Sunday of undetermined causes at St. Agnes HealthCare. The longtime Catonsville resident was 79.
Until retiring in 1982, Mr. Troy had worked 22 years supervising and evaluating foreign-language teachers in city schools.
"He knew his languages and knew how to work with people," said Dorothy K. Kreek, who taught French and Latin at Northern Parkway Junior High School until retiring in 1978. "He was very caring, efficient and knew what he was doing."
"Tom would sit in on classes, and he'd do an evaluation. He'd let us know how we were doing, and if we needed improvement, he did it in a very kind way," she said.
Edward L. Biller, a close friend who supervised social studies instructors, recalled Mr. Troy's concern for his teachers.
"We'd sit at lunch, and he'd be talking about problems his teachers were having and how he could help solve them. He was totally wrapped up in his job," said Mr. Biller, who is retired and lives in Parkville. "He was compassionate to both teachers and students. His teachers thought he was the best guide and mentor."
Dorothy H. Fader, who shared an office with Mr. Troy at the old school system headquarters on 25th Street and supervised science instructors, started on the same day he did in 1960. "He had a wry sense of humor and oftentimes his straight-faced reply to something wasn't what you expected," she said. "He was just a great guy."
Mr. Troy was born and raised on East 20th Street, one of 15 children of a newspaper pressman for the old News Post. He entered St. Charles Seminary at age 14 and earned a bachelor's degree in theology from St. Mary's Seminary and University. He was within weeks of ordination when he withdrew from the priesthood.
"In the early 1940s, after St. Mary's, he was working as a recreational supervisor at the old Recreation Pier at the foot of Broadway, and that's where I met him," said his wife of 49 years, the former Eleanor Zimmerman.
"I was a phys-ed teacher, and I convinced him to go into education. The hours were better," she said, laughing.
Mr. Troy earned a master's degree in education from Loyola College and later won a fellowship to Yale University.
He spoke six foreign languages fluently -- Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish and Russian -- and began his teaching career at Western High School in the early 1950s.
He liked camping and surf fishing at Assateague Island, and collecting stamps. He was an avid flower and vegetable gardener.
Mr. Troy was an active communicant of St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 27 Melville Ave., Catonsville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Troy is survived by four sons, Thomas D. Troy Jr. of Oceanside, Calif., Joseph Troy of LaPlata, Michael Troy of Tunkhannock, Pa., and Robert Troy of Los Angeles; a daughter, Danielle Davis of Catonsville; five brothers, Edmund Troy, Joseph Troy and Peter Troy, all of Baltimore, George Troy of Hunt Valley and Jerome Troy of Fairglades, Tenn.; six sisters, Ann Macatee of Fallston, Catherine Hewell of Towson, Margaret Beaudreault of Carney, and Elizabeth Kelleher, Carolyn Blair and Patsy Chalfant, all of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.